College rates publicly traded West Michigan companies on ‘trustworthiness’


The global headquarters of Whirlpool Corporation is located in Benton Harbor. Courtesy Whirlpool Corporation

Several publicly traded West Michigan companies have been rated based on their “trustworthiness.”

Three Grand Valley State University professors examined and analyzed the companies' performances in five major categories: treatment of stakeholders; branding and reputation; leadership and governance; ethics and values; and financial strength.

Researchers from the Koeze Business Ethics Initiative in the GVSU Seidman College of Business have created the “Michigan Trustworthiness Index” of Michigan's 18 largest publicly-held companies.

A variety of sources, including outside rankings, commentary, websites and publicly available data, were used to determine weighting and rankings of trustworthiness. The study also included analysis of wages and benefits, employee turnover and safety record, among a number of other factors.

A numerical score representing trustworthiness was ranked on a five-point scale, with the number 5 representing the highest level of trustworthiness. Information was drawn and analyzed from publicly available databases and sources: CapIQ and KLD; scholarly and journalistic papers and articles, such as Fortune, Forbes, Wall Street Journal; professional trade magazines; surveys; and more. These were cross-referenced and weighted to produce the rankings. 

"We do not intend to imply that those companies that scored low in the rankings are untrustworthy. It simply means they did not score as high in comparison to the others we considered," said Michael DeWilde, director of the Koeze Business Ethics Initiative and a professor of management, GVSU. "By the same token, a higher score simply means these companies' efforts to be trustworthy are paying some dividends."

A full report of the rankings is online.

"Michigan Trustworthiness Index"

1.   Whirlpool Corporation, Benton Harbor: 4.1
2.   Ford Motor Company, Dearborn: 3.9
3.   Stryker Corporation, Kalamazoo: 3.6
4.   Steelcase, Grand Rapids: 3.6
5.   Kellogg Company, Battle Creek: 3.4
6.   CMS Energy Corporation, Jackson: 3.4
7.   DTE Energy, Detroit: 3.3
8.   General Motors, Detroit: 3.1
9.   Ally Financial, Detroit: 3.0
10. Universal Forest Products, Grand Rapids: 3.0
11. Dow Chemical Company (merged w/ DuPont 2017), Midland: 2.9
12. Kelly Services, Troy: 2.9
13. Lear Corporation, Southfield: 2.8
14. Penske Corporation, Bloomfield Hills: 2.5
15. American Axle & Manufacturing, Detroit: 2.5
16. Wolverine Worldwide, Rockford: 2.5
17. SpartanNash Company, Grand Rapids: 2.4
18. Visteon Corporation, Van Buren Township: 1.3

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