More than six in ten Americans (63%) believe that businesses overall have a somewhat or extremely positive impact on people’s lives, representing an increase of seven percentage points since 2022, according to a survey from Bentley University and from Gallup.
When asked specifically about small and large businesses, 85% of Americans say small businesses have a somewhat or extremely positive impact on people’s lives, compared to 42% who say the same about large businesses.
results for the Bentley-Gallup Business in Society study are based on online survey responses collected May 8-15, 2023 from 5,458 U.S. adults via the Gallup panel.
Americans are less positive about the impact of businesses on the planet and the environment
A slim majority of Americans, 52%, think the impact of business on people’s well-being is somewhat or extremely positive, but they are less positive about the impact of business on the planet/environment. Only 22% of Americans think businesses have an extremely or somewhat positive impact on the environment, matching the 21% who said the same in 2022.
Americans see government as having the most power to make an impact
Of the four groups surveyed, the majority of Americans believe two have “a lot” of power to positively impact people’s lives: the federal government (60%) and state and local governments (58%). Smaller percentages say the same about businesses (39%) and charities/advocacy organizations (21%).
While Americans view charitable/advocacy organizations as the least powerful of the four groups in having a positive impact on people, they are considered the most effective in this regard, with nearly eight in 10 rating them extremely (18 %) or rather average (60%). effective. Businesses are seen by 58% of U.S. adults as effective at positively impacting lives, while nearly 55% say the same about state and local governments. The federal government (43%) is considered the least effective of the four groups in having a positive impact.
Americans’ attitudes toward business have improved since 2022. And in line with past research from GallupAmerican adults have a particularly favorable view of small businesses.
While Americans believe that corporations have the power to positively impact people’s lives, they rate their effectiveness in this regard as worse than that of charitable/advocacy organizations and only slightly better than that of state governments and premises. This research suggests that Americans believe businesses have untapped potential to act as a positive force in their lives, their communities, and society at large.
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