How do Americans rate the fairness of US corporate practices?

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Responses to: Which of these behaviors is most important in evaluating how just a corporation is?   Source

What do Americans think of corporate practices?  And what business practices most disturb Americans?  Each year JUST Capital conducts a poll of a representative sample of U.S. adults to answer these questions.

JUST Capital, a nonprofit group, seeks to “build a more just marketplace that better reflects the true priorities of the American people.”  The group believes that “business, and capitalism, can and must be a positive force for change.”   We believe that if they have the right information, people will buy from, invest in, work for, and otherwise support companies that align with their values. And we believe that business leaders are searching to win back the trust of the public in ways that go beyond money. By shifting the immense resources and ingenuity of the $15 trillion private sector onto a more balanced – and more just – course, we can help build a better future for everyone.

The findings from its 2017 survey of about 4,100 adult US respondents, shown above, provides some informative insights.  First, the outcome most important to corporate managers, i.e., providing returns to investors, is the least important practice that respondents use to rate the fairness of a corporation. Second, the national discourse on jobs and job creation makes that practice by far the highest rated factor in judging a corporation’s fairness. Third, some of the practices of greatest interest to health advocates, such as the health consequences of products (rated as most important by 35.4% of respondents), efforts to minimize pollution (38.6%), and providing a safe workplace (11.5%) rank lower than other factors.

The survey also compares responses by several demographic characteristics, including age, gender, income, region, political party, ideology and investor status.  Of interest, none of these factors predict large differences in beliefs about fairness.  Any survey is of course influenced by the wording of questions and other surveys have shown age and other differences in how Americans view corporations.

JUST Capital provides more detailed reports of their annual surveys from 2014 to 2017. It also publishes Roadmap for Corporate America, its summary of the 2017 survey and recommendations for how corporations can respond to survey findings.

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