Have you heard the news? Apple has been ranked in second place among the top 250 best managed U.S companies. The ranking was done by the Drucker Institute, which puts Apple just below Amazon and only marginally ahead of Google. The Wall Street Journal notes that this is the first ranking of U.S. companies based on the ideas of late business guru Peter Drucker.
The ranking—compiled by the Drucker Institute, founded in 2007 to advance the ideals of the management sage—differs from other “best of” lists in that it doesn’t measure any single aspect of a company’s prowess, such as profits or productivity. Rather it takes a holistic approach, examining how well a business does in five areas that reflect Mr. Drucker’s core principles: customer satisfaction, employee engagement and development, innovation, social responsibility and financial strength.
As mentioned, this is the first time businesses were scored based on this information. There are a couple of interesting things about this study. The first is the findings. Apple outperforms Amazon financially earning five stars, whereas Amazon has only earned four. Apple only received four stars for customer satisfaction. Amazon, on the other hand, received five. Both companies tie with four stars in employee engagement and development and receive five stars for innovation.
But Apple outperforms Amazon in social efforts with five stars, versus Amazon’s two stars. What are social efforts exactly? I presume they are referring to philanthropy and contributing back to society. But what does this even mean? Who can throw the best holiday party? This is an interesting one to unpack for a moment. The Drucker Institute is saying that Amazon doesn’t fare well in this category. Alphabet and Apple were the only two to receive four stars in this category. Amazon received two, and yet all the other businesses in the top 10 received five stars in this area.
So what are they doing that Amazon, Apple, and Alphabet aren’t doing? That is a really good question and one that I don’t really have an answer to. It also makes you wonder what they consider this category to begin with? We see a lot of social efforts being made in places like Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, but is that what we’re talking about here? Maybe Amazon contributed money to the cause, but they aren’t doing something that is more obvious. I’m not saying that happened, but what if that were the case. How would this affect the ranking?
I guess I’m curious to understand how the Drucker Institute defines this category. I wasn’t able to find anything about this, which is why there are more questions than answers on this one. Between Apple and Amazon, who seems more socially conscious? Without having any kind of benchmark or baseline for this assessment, I would say Apple. But like I said in the previous paragraph, maybe we don’t see what Amazon is doing in this area. I would like to pose a big question that some of you might be thinking and that’s why does this even matter? Why does social responsibility make you a good corporation? I should reframe that. Why does social responsibility make you a top managed company? And the answer to that is, in my opinion, it doesn’t.
I’m not suggesting that corporation shouldn’t be socially conscious. I feel like they have to be. But I don’t see how reaching out to hurricane victims after a hurricane makes you a well-managed company. Yes, there are other factors – like how you manage your finances or what your customer service is like. Those are all things that I think speak to the company. How do a company’s social efforts correlate to management though? I am not trying to rant on this one, but I’m honestly going around in circles trying to make heads or tales of what this particular category means in the grand scheme of things, and I’m struggling to come up with an answer.