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GVSU researchers create trustworthiness index of Michigan's largest publicly-held companies

  • Seidman College of Business

Posted on February 06, 2018

Researchers from the Koeze Business Ethics Initiative in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University have created a trustworthiness index of Michigan's 18 largest publicly-held companies.

Three Grand Valley professors examined and analyzed the companies' performances in five major categories: treatment of stakeholders, branding and reputation, leadership and governance, ethics and values and financial strength. 

A variety of sources, including outside rankings, commentary, websites and publicly available data were used to determine weighting and rankings of trustworthiness. The study also included analysis of wages and benefits, employee turnover and safety record, among a number of other factors.

A numerical score representing trustworthiness was ranked on a five-point scale, with the number 5 representing the highest level of trustworthiness. Information was drawn and analyzed from publicly available databases (e.g., CapIQ and KLD), scholarly and journalistic papers and articles (e.g., FortuneForbesWall Street Journal), professional trade magazines, surveys and other sources. These were cross-referenced and weighted to produce the rankings.  

"We do not intend to imply that those companies that scored low in the rankings are untrustworthy; it simply means they did not score as high in comparison to the others we considered," said Michael DeWilde, director of the Koeze Business Ethics Initiative and professor of management. "By the same token, a higher score simply means these companies' efforts to be trustworthy are paying some dividends." 

Seidman College of Business Michigan Trustworthiness Index 2018 Rankings: 

A full report of the rankings can be found here:

1. Whirlpool Corporation, Benton Harbor - 4.1

2. Ford Motor Company, Dearborn - 3.9

3. Stryker Corporation, Kalamazoo - 3.6

4. Steelcase, Inc., Grand Rapids - 3.6

5. Kellogg Company, Battle Creek - 3.4

6. CMS Energy Corporation, Jackson - 3.4

7. DTE Energy, Detroit - 3.3

8. General Motors, Detroit - 3.1

9. Ally Financial, Inc., Detroit - 3.0

10. Universal Forest Products, Grand Rapids - 3.0

11. Dow Chemical Company (merged w/ DuPont 2017), Midland - 2.9

12. Kelly Services, Inc., Troy - 2.9

13. Lear Corporation, Southfield - 2.8

14. Penske Corporation, Bloomfield Hills - 2.5

15. American Axle & Manufacturing, Detroit - 2.5

16. Wolverine World Wide, Inc., Rockford - 2.5

17. SpartanNash Company, Grand Rapids - 2.4

18. Visteon Corporation, Van Buren Township - 1.3

Researchers included DeWilde; Kevin Lehnert, associate professor of marketing; Vijay Godhalekar, professor of finance; and Arik Aninos, a graduate research assistant. 

The full report, including charts and an explanation of rankings, can be found at For more information, contact DeWilde at (616) 331-7468 or