Gallup-Bentley Survey Finds Majority of Americans Believe Business Has Positive Impact on People’s Lives

A recent survey with Gallup as well as Bentley University finds that 55 percent of Americans think that businesses can have the potential to have an “extremely” or “somewhat” positive effect on the lives of people. Its Bentley University – Force for Good Report examines the way Americans are concerned about the ability of companies, both large and small, to have an impact on society as well as the areas where they are not successful.

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Americans make a clear distinction between small and large businesses The survey revealed. The two groups are nearly twice as likely to state that small-scale businesses have a positive impact on the lives of people (82 percent) than to state the same of large corporations (41 percent).

The study also revealed that Americans are highly positive about the potential of businesses to make a difference in society. Nearly nine out of 10 (89 percent) think that companies and businesses are able to make a difference “a great deal of” or “some” power to make an impact on the lives of people, which is similar to the percentages of people who affirm the same for federal and state governments (90 percent and 88% respectively). Advocacy and charitable organizations are thought to have lesser potential, with only 71% of those who support them say they have a good amount of power or to have a positive effect.

Gallup-Bentley Survey Finds Majority of Americans Believe Business Has Positive Impact on People's Lives
Gallup-Bentley Survey Finds Majority of Americans Believe Business Has Positive Impact on People’s Lives

But in terms of real performance Americans think that their businesses may be failing in certain areas. The survey revealed that 53 percent of Americans think that companies generally are causing harm to the environmental environment, and this number reaches 65% for big companies. The issue of pay inequality is another place where Americans think that businesses are not doing enough. Many believe it is important to provide equal wages to all employees (82 percent) and to avoid large wage disparities between CEOs and the average employee (55 percent). However, in all cases there is a dearth of evidence that businesses excel or are good in this regard (30 percent and 13 percent in each case,).


The study was conducted during an era of uncertainty within the U.S. labor market, which has seen many workers reviewing their career plans and pondering the kinds of businesses they could be employed. Over 93 percent of Americans believe that if they were looking for work in a company, it would be “somewhat” or “extremely” crucial for the company to earn money ethically. More than 73% of respondents say it’s either extremely or somewhat essential for the company to encourage equity, diversity and inclusion. In spite of this, only 32 percent of Americans believe that businesses have a reputation for being “excellent” or “good” in generating profits in ethical ways, while only 41% believe that businesses are good or excellent in promoting equity, diversity and inclusion.

In total, 55% of employed Americans have said they would consider changing jobs to join an organization with an impact that is more positive around the globe, including 71% of workers between the ages of 18 and 29.

“These statistics show that Americans think that doing good makes good business sense. ¬†They expect more from businesses than just increasing profits or reaching shareholder goals. And this is particularly true for Gen Z as well as millennials, the future of our country’s population and the consumer base,” said Bentley University President E. LaBrent Chrite. “These new expectations should be of great importance to every employer and company in America. If you’re hoping to continue to grow and to attract new employees and customers it is essential to show your dedication to your local community, take responsibility for your environmental footprint and embrace and propagate values that the workforce of today embrace.”

Companies are thinking about ways they can be more visible in demonstrating their beliefs, many have begun to voice their opinions on important issues that affect society. The study revealed that the nation is divided over whether companies should make a public statement regarding current events. 48% of respondents say yes, and 52% of respondents say no. Democrats (75 percent) are significantly greater than Republicans (18 percent) to think that businesses should adopt a public position regarding current events.

Although some might argue that companies’ efforts to create positive social changes could reduce their profits, the vast majority of Americans do not see companies’ financial goals and their commitment to creating a positive social impact as different goals. Around seven out of 10 (69 percent) believe that companies that are focused on having a positive effect on society are as profitable (47 percent) or even more profitable (22 percent) as their competition. The study discovered that those who claim they have plenty of experience in owning, leading or managing a company are more likely to Americans generally to believe that businesses that are committed to creating a positive impact are at the very least as profitable as counterparts.

“This research confirms that Americans expect, and believe businesses can, make a positive impact on the world,” said Stephanie Marken, Education Division partner at Gallup. “And yet in the areas they view as most important – showing respect for their employees and earning profits in an ethical way – Americans feel as if businesses are falling far short, so the business community has more work to do to inspire confidence among their customers.”


This Bentley University РGallup Force for Good survey is an adaptation of the Gallup Panel web-based survey that was completed by 5,757 adults aged 18 and over between June 8 and 19th 2022. The Gallup Panel has been described as a probabilistic long-term panel composed of U.S. adults whom Gallup chooses by conducting random-digit phone interviews which cover both landline and cell phones. Gallup also utilizes techniques for sampling based on addresses to select panel members. This Gallup Panel has no opt-in requirements. The sample of it was weighted to ensure that it was in a way that is representative to those in the U.S. adult population, by using the most up-to-date Current Population Survey figures. Based on the results from that sample, the highest margin of error in sampling is minus or plus 1.9 percentage point at the 95 percent confidence level. The margins of error are greater for subsamples.


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