Kearney: 55% of Corporations Have But to Absolutely Embed Objective Into Their Enterprise

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE) – The latest Purpose Report from the global consulting partnership Kearney showed that only 45% of companies have made sense in their corporate culture and only 13% proactively promote issues related to their stated purpose.

Purpose has become a popular catchphrase in recent years that often appears in mission statements and is an integral part of corporate culture, as it gives stakeholders a positive signal that companies want to contribute to the good of society and the environment.

Consumers, workers and stakeholders from all communities are better informed and more active than ever on environmental, social and governance issues. Being a good citizen alone has proven insufficient, and many companies are in the limelight simply to signal virtue through pronouncements, metrics, and pledges.

Kearney’s Purpose Quotient Index (PQI) compares organizations’ efforts to be purpose-driven against how well they meet those commitments, with the discrepancy between the two highlighting their purpose gap. However, the gap in purpose does not only exist between claim and execution; Kearney’s data also showed disagreement among different groups in organizations.

The results of the report showed that CEOs are far more positive about the purpose status of their company than employees. 36% said that the company has fully embedded its purpose in the organization. Only 8% of the CEOs surveyed believed that their company needed to be more present in this area. However, more than half of newcomers (53%) said their company has not yet fully anchored the purpose, while nearly four in ten (39%) said their company needs to make a stronger impression in this area.

To explore these issues further, Kearney has created a spectrum of purpose archetypes, from visionaries and trailblazers striving for purpose initiatives on the one hand, to highly committed integrators and activists on the other. Again, perceptions of progress varied by role, with over a third of CEOs categorizing their company as activists or integrators (36%) – almost double the percentage of middle management (20%).

Alex Liu, Managing Partner and Chairman of the Board at Kearney, comments:

“While most leaders understand the importance of purpose, our research shows clear gaps between positive intentions and meaningful outcomes.

These gaps exist not only in the company’s operations, but also in its endeavors, with C-suite employees perceiving the company’s progress in a very different way than middle managers and entry-level employees. This has to be reconciled. Just being a good citizen is no longer enough.

Executives also need to consider how their product lines, supply chains and business processes can become more diverse, fairer and more climate-conscious. You need to wonder if they can activate a purpose to gain lasting competitive advantage and inspire teams to have a happier and more ethical workplace culture.

The urgency is high: consumers, workers and stakeholders from all communities are better informed and more active than ever on environmental, social and governance issues. This represents a great opportunity for today’s leaders: companies that do good and are good will thrive. ”


Notes for editors

Kearney recently held a round table with Bloomberg to discuss with global leaders about the accomplishment of purposes seen here.


Kearney’s Purpose Quotient Index (PQI) combines the responses of 300+ CEOs and CXOs, 300 middle managers, and 200+ private sector professionals in Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and North America to look at the purpose gap worldwide, test the similarities and differences between companies in all industries, and examine where the gaps are. The Kearney PQI examines the areas in which organizations seek to create shared public value (the level of ambition) versus how well they meet their commitments (the level of implementation). By graphing both sets of results, we can determine the “purpose quotient” of an organization and determine which of the five purpose archetypes they fall into. The aim of the PQI is to develop an understanding of gaps in purpose within companies and across industries and to identify areas in which companies need to implement their purpose most.

About Kearney

Kearney is a leading global management consultancy with deep expertise in strategic transformation. We work with more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500, as well as government agencies and nonprofits. As a global consulting partnership in more than 40 countries, our employees make us who we are. We are people who take just as much pleasure from those we work with as we do from the work itself. With the aim of making the difference between a great idea and its implementation, we help our customers to make the breakthrough. To learn more about Kearney, please visit