Public view of corporations continues to erode

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Public view of corporations continues to erode

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The public’s view of corporations has continuously deteriorated since the second half of 2011 to fall short of the moderate favorability level of 50 points, the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and Hyundai Research Institute said yesterday.

The Corporate Favorite Index (CFI) for the first half of 2013, which surveyed 1,000 men and women in their 20s, stood at 48.6 out of 100. It was the third consecutive semiannual drop from 51.2 points in the second half of 2011.

The CFI reflects the level of favorable feelings toward corporations as measured by contribution to national economy, management ethics, productivity, competitiveness in international markets and contribution to society, according to the KCCI.

The closer to 100, the more favorable the opinion of those surveyed.

Looking at the changes in scores for CFI criteria compared to the second half of last year, overall likability went from 48.1 to 46.7, competitiveness in the international market from 79.6 to 74.8, and productivity and technology from 63.4 to 61.7.

Views toward management ethics improved from 22.9 to 23.7 points, contribution to national economy from 51 to 51.2 and social contribution from 40.8 to 40.9 when compared with last year’s results.

Reasons cited for favorable feelings toward corporations included contribution to the national economy (42.2 percent), enhancement of Korea’s brand (30.5 percent), job creation (22.7 percent) and social contributions like corporate social responsibility initiatives (4.5 percent).

Reasons for negative feelings were lack of ethics (50.9 percent), neglect of social responsibility (22.5 percent), lack of mutual cooperation and shared growth between companies (18.3 percent), and insufficient job creation (7.8 percent).

When asked whether the country’s antibusiness sentiment is high, 66.5 percent of those surveyed said yes. However, when asked if corporations are the largest contributors to the national economy, 74.7 said yes.

When it came to entrepreneurial spirit, 36.4 percent said it had improved compared to previous years; 21.7 percent said it was worse.

To encourage entrepreneurship, 41.1 percent cited labor stability, 20.4 percent said removal of policy uncertainty, 15.9 percent said strengthening support for start-ups and 13.9 percent chose deregulation.

Suggested corporate priorities cited were job creation (43.1 percent), improving the welfare of workers (21.6 percent), contributing to society (16.9 percent), strengthening national competitiveness (12.6 percent) and promoting national wealth through profit generation (5.8 percent).

“The CFI has not been improved significantly for the past few years. Along with growing interest in ethical management, companies should make more of a commitment to social responsibilities,” said Jeon Su-bong, general manager of research at KCCI.

“In addition, according to the survey, citizens are concerned about the degradation of the domestic companies’ competitiveness. The government should create a good environment for businesses so that it supports the domestic corporations to strengthen their competitiveness.”

BY KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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