Public Value Atlas 2019:
In 2019, the survey covered a total of 14,946 persons aged 18 to 93 and living in the German, French and Italian-speaking areas of Switzerland.

Public Value Atlas 2017:
In 2017, the survey covered a total of 14,502 persons aged 18 to 92 and living in Switzerland. Apart from the German speaking area, French and Italian speaking parts of Switzerland were included in the sample for the first time.

Public Value Atlas 2015:
In 2015, a total of 5,052 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 4,483 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. The 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.

The respondents are all registered on the market research institute intervista’s online panel, which has approximately 100,000 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 circulation (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)). In 2017, the sources used for the evaluation were updated, which led to slight changes in comparison to the organizations preselected in 2015.

In 2019, an updated version of the same sources was used. Included were all SMI (Swiss Market Index) listed companies (2018), the top 50 Swiss companies by turnover (Data Segmentas, retrieved in August August 2018), 50 of the most valuable international brands of 2018 (Study Brand Finance), the 10 largest banks by balance sheet total in Switzerland (Data statista), the 8 largest Swiss indemnity insurances and 8 largest health insurance companies by market share (FINMA), the 19 largest family businesses in Switzerland (Data familybusinessindex), the 10 largest cooperatives in Switzerland (Data BILANZ), 15 NGOs with the strongest revenue growth, 15 public sector organizations, the 10 football associations of the Super League Switzerland in the season 2018/2019 with the highest average number of spectators (Data statista), the 10 daily newspapers with the highest average circulation (Daten statista), the 10 leading companies in detail trade by turnover (Data statista), the protestant church of Switzerland, the roman catholic church of Switzerland.

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 Switzerland to evaluate the largest and most important companies in Switzerland in sequence of their familiarity with these companies. In 2019, a total of 513 people were included in the preliminary investigation (approx. 255 evaluations per organization). Organizations that scored a familiarity above 4.00 on average in 2017 were not included in the familiarity inquiry for a second time. Furthermore, 2019 was special in that all organizations that scored a familiarity below 4.00 but above 2.40 on a scale ranging from 1 to 6 in 2017 were surveyed together with the newly added organizations. The newly added organizations had to achieve a familiarity of 2.50 or above on a scale ranging from 1 to 6 to be included in the main survey.

In 2017, there were a total of 501 participants (250 evaluations per organization). In 2015, a total of 465 persons participated in the familiarity inquiry (at least 200 evaluations per organization) and a total of 800 persons in 2014.

Data collection

Survey period

Public Value Atlas 2019:
The anonymous survey was conducted over a period of seven weeks in May/June 2019.

Public Value Atlas 2017:
The anonymous survey was conducted over a period of four weeks in May/June 2017.

Public Value Atlas 2015: 
The anonymous survey was conducted over a period of four weeks in June/July 2015.

Public Value Atlas 2014: 
The anonymous survey was conducted over a period of 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).


In previous years, 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 2017:
128 persons in total

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.

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 Swiss population perceives an organization's 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 2019 each of the 110 organizations was evaluated by at least 800 people and in 2017 each of the 106 organizations was evaluated by at least 770 persons living in Switzerland. This represents a significant increase in the number of respondents compared to 2015 (at least 227 persons) and 2014 (at least 300 persons). In addition, the survey was extended to the whole of Switzerland in 2019 and 2017 (limited to the German-speaking areas of Switzerland in 2015 and 2014).

In 2019, the public value scores range from 5.55 to 2.26 (2017: from 5.56 to 2.43; 2015: from 5.41 to 2.87; 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. We provide more information on this in the FAQ section.


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 are to be interpreted as a snapshot. A comparison of the results in 2019 with those obtained in previous years allows initial conclusions on the development of the public value contribution of individual organizations over time. It will be of interest to monitor further developments in future data collections.
It should be considered 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. However, a comparison with different cultural environments is only possible if the study is extended to other countries.
In 2015, the study was conducted for the first time in Germany and was published in October 2015. In 2019, the Public Value Atlas Germany was published for the second time in May 2019. You can find the Public Value Atlas Germany here.