Public Value Atlas 2015:
In 2015, a total of 5052 persons aged between 18 and 90 living in the German-speaking part of Switzerland were surveyed.

Public Value Atlas 2014:
The data collection in 2014 comprised 4483 persons aged between 18 and 88 years and living in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.

If the respondents knew at least three of the listed organizations, they were invited to evaluate the public value contribution of the randomly selected individual organizations according to the four dimensions: quality of life, task fulfillment, social cohesion, and morality. Both samples were drawn randomly, and were proportionally stratified and representative of the population (according to the current data of the Swiss Federal Statistical Office) in terms of gender, age, level of education, and region of residence. During the analysis, different response rates in various strata were monitored and balanced by additional disproportionally stratified random samples. Owing to the questionnaire-specific screening categories, there were only minor deviations in the representative distribution concerning age (± 3 percent) and region of residence (± 4 percent). The quotas with regard to gender and education were maintained without deviations (deviations in 2014: age ± 3 percent, region of residence and education ± 5 percent).

The respondents are all registered on the market research institute intervista ’s online panel, which has more than 50,000 registered participants and is subject to continuous quality control.

Selection of analyzed organizations

The selection of the analyzed companies and organizations was conducted in two steps.
First a list was created with the most important companies and organizations according to specific criteria, for example, turnover and reach(media). Second, a representative population sample evaluated the selected companies and organizations according to how familiar they were with them. Only the best known organizations were part of the main survey and form part of the Public Value Atlas.

Step 1: Composition of the important organizations

Only the largest and best known Swiss companies, banks, insurance companies, and cooperatives formed part of the organizations selected for the 2014 data collection.
These included the 50 Swiss companies with the highest turnover, all SMI (Swiss Market Index)-listed companies, as well as the ten biggest Swiss insurance companies, banks, and cooperatives (79 organizations in total).
In addition, the following media, NGOs, and public sector organizations were included in the questionnaire: SRF (Swiss Radio and Television, Blick, NZZ, Schweizer Armee (Swiss Armed Forces), Schweizerisches Rotes Kreuz (Swiss Red Cross), and WWF.

In comparison to 2014, the 2015 list of the familiarity inquiry also included the 50 most valuable international brands (Brand Finance study). In addition, the list was expanded with the ten biggest Swiss family-owned enterprises and aid agencies for development cooperation ( ― measured according to turnover ― as well as the media houses with the largest reach in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and public sector associations and organizations (e.g., Spitex, TCS, Rega, Bundesamt für Polizei (Federal Police Office)).

Public Value Atlas for the Canton of St.Gallen
Since the Center for Leadership and Values in Society is based in St.Gallen, we have great interest in also including regional organizations’ contributions. In addition, we included important cantonal organizations (e.g., Schützengarten and FC St.Gallen) after several expert discussions. We increased the number of cantonal organizations from nine in 2014 to a total of 15 organizations in 2015. Only persons from the canton of St.Gallen could evaluate these cantonal organizations. Owing to the different samples, the two years’ results are presented separately from the Public Value Atlas’s results on a national level, and can be retrieved by using the filter “Region Canton of St.Gallen.”

Step 2: Familiarity inquiry

Only the best known companies and organizations are included in the main survey. In order to identify these, we conducted a preliminary investigation by asking persons living in the German-speaking part of Switzerland to evaluate the largest and most important companies in Switzerland in sequence of their familiarity with these companies. In 2015, a total of 465 persons (min. of 200 evaluations per (inter-)national organization, min. 50 evaluations per cantonal organization in the Canton of St.Gallen) participated in the familiarity inquiry, and a total of 800 persons in 2014.

Data collection

Survey period

Public Value Atlas 2015: The anonymous survey took place over a four-week period in June/July 2015.

Public Value Atlas 2014: The anonymous survey took place over three weeks in February/March 2014.


In an online questionnaire, items could be evaluated on a Likert scale of 1 to 6 (e.g., Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? The (particular organization) complies with accepted standards of morality. 1=disagree; 6=agree).


The online questionnaire underwent a pre-test to determine the average processing time and to verify how clearly the questions or statements had been formulated. In addition to a quantitative survey, a qualitative observation pre-test was also conducted, in which the respondents’ reactions during the processing of the questionnaire were documented.  

Pre-test sample Public Value Atlas 2015:
100 persons in total.

Pre-test sample Public Value Atlas 2014: 
65 persons in total.


In the main survey, the respondents could only evaluate organizations if they knew them sufficiently. (Item: Please study this list of Swiss and international companies and organizations. How well do you know these companies and organizations? Please answer the questions by using the scale below, where 1 means you don’t know the company/organization at all and are thus not able to give an opinion. 6 means you know the company/organization and are thus able to give an opinion. You can grade your answer with the scale values of 2 to 5.)
At the beginning of the survey, the respondents were requested to indicate how well they know the individual organizations on a scale from 1-6. Only participants who gave a familiarity score equal to, or greater than, 4 were requested to evaluate the public value contribution of these particular organizations.

Public value contribution

If the respondent had sufficient knowledge of the organizations, he/she received a selection of up to six organizations to evaluate their public value contribution. Organizations from the Canton of St.Gallen were only evaluated by persons living in this canton.

The measurement of the public value contributions was based on the four dimensions, i.e., task fulfillment, social cohesion, quality of life, and morality:

  • Task fulfillment: This particular organization performs well in ist core business.
  • Social cohesion: This particular organization contributes to the social cohesion in Switzerland.
  • Quality of life: This particular organization contributes to the quality of life in Switzerland.
  • Morality: This particular organization complies with accepted standards of morality.

The measurement of public value contributions by means of single-item measures is based on earlier studies’ results (see Meynhardt and Bartholomes, 2011, as well as Strathoff and Bilolo, 2014).

Data evaluation

Score building

The public value score provides information on how the German-speaking Swiss population perceives organizations’ public value contribution. The unweighted average of the evaluation of the four public value dimensions is used to calculate the score. Organizations with a good total score, showed a high value contribution in all four dimensions.

In 2015, at least 250 persons living in the German-speaking part of Switzerland evaluated each of the 102 international and national organizations. In 2014, at least 400 persons evaluated each national organization. In 2015, we added 15 organizations based in St.Gallen, which at least 227 persons from the canton of St.Gallen evaluated. In 2014, at least 300 persons from the canton evaluated nine cantonal organizations.

In 2015, the public value scores ranged from 5.41 to 2.87 (in 2014, from 5.39 to 2.64). These values are valid and/or “true”for the analyzed sample, the respondents. In order to infer the underlying “true” value applicable to the entire population, a statistical tool, namely the confidence interval, needs to be used. The confidence interval indicates an area, or interval, with a defined probability of being a “true” value. In this way it is possible to cope with fluctuations, or variances, in the answers and the number of respondents. A confidence interval with a confidence level of 99.9% was specified to classify the groups. This means there is a 99.9% probability that the “true” value will lie within the identified value range between the upper and lower boundary of the interval. A higher selected confidence level leads to a lower risk of wrong assessments, but a wider interval. The confidence interval is individually calculated for each organization, because they have different characteristics: the number of respondents, the variance, or standard deviation, and the mean.

Group classification

The same principle of the confidence interval was also applied to the mean of all the organizations forming the basis of the organizations’ classification. The reason for this is that this mean is also an estimation and, depending on the fluctuations, the average of the organizations also fluctuates.

An organization thus enters the top group if the lowest value of its confidence interval is above the highest value of the confidence interval of the mean of all the organizations. Only then can we maintain that the mean of the particular organization has a 99.9% probability of being above the mean of all the organizations. Consequently, an organization with a higher mean compared to other organizations in the top group may sometimes not be included in this group, due to the marked fluctuations in the answers and, thus, a too wide confidence interval. Under such circumstances, an organization’s confidence interval overlaps the confidence interval of the mean of all the organizations.

Reciprocally, an organization can enter the bottom group if the highest value of its confidence interval is below the lowest value of the confidence interval of the mean of all the organizations. More information on this in the FAQ.


The Public Value Atlas includes the biggest and best known international and national companies in Switzerland, as well as additional selected organizations. Bear in mind that only a section of important Swiss organizations is shown.

The results of the Public Value Atlas must be interpreted as a snapshot. A comparison of the results of the of 2014 and 2015 Public Value Atlases allows initial conclusions with regard to the development of individual organizations’ public value contributions over a period of time. It will be interesting to observe their development over further measurement periods in subsequent data surveys.
It should be taken into account that the results relate to a specific cultural context. For example, the public value contribution of internationally active organizations may be evaluated differently in other countries and cultural environments. A comparison with other cultural environments is only possible if the study is also conducted in other countries.
In 2015 the study was, for the first time, also conducted in Germany and published on 30 October 2015. You can view the Public Value Atlas Germany here.