Microsoft just topped a 'best-run company' list, but other tech firms tumble down the rankings

Microsoft has, for the third year running, topped a list of America's best-run companies.    

The rankings, compiled by the Claremont Graduate University's Drucker Institute for the Wall Street Journal's (WSJ) Management Top 250 list, compare America's largest publicly traded companies. 

Microsoft led the pack, followed by Apple (2), IBM (3), General Motors (4), and Whirlpool (5). As noted by WSJ, last year, the first five spots were taken by tech companies. This year's top five consists of three firms founded before World War I: IBM and Whirlpool were founded in 1911, while GM was founded in 1908.   

Google-parent Alphabet didn't fare well this year, ranking 24th, just behind Walmart and Home Depot, but ahead of chipmakers AMD and Qualcomm (which shared 25th place), and Verizon (27). Facebook-parent Meta ranked a lowly 130, in part because of its slowing revenue growth but also its low customer satisfaction score of 32.5. Meta was ranked 31 in 2021. 

With Intel and in seventh and eighth positions, six of the top 10 were still tech firms. Johnson & Johnson and Mastercard rounded out the top 10. 

Other tech companies in the top 20 included HP Inc (12), Cisco (14), and Adobe (15). 

WSJ notes that Meta, Amazon, Alphabet, Uber, and Salesforce dropped in this year's ranking.    

The Drucker Institute gives each company a total 'effectiveness' score out of 100 based on scores in five categories, including customer satisfaction, employee engagement and development, innovation, social responsibility, and financial strength. Data sources include JD Power, Glassdoor, and Clarivate, among others.  

Microsoft scored 48.6 on customer satisfaction, 70.8 for employee engagement and development, 133.7 for innovation, 73.5 for social responsibility, and 91.7 for financial strength, leaving it with an overall 'effectiveness' score of 98.6. Apple's respective scores were 60.7, 61.6, 90.3, 65.9, and 92.7, leaving it with an 'effectiveness' score of 83.2. IBM scored just 51.4 on financial strength but 99 on innovation.

Amazon recorded the biggest decline in the overall score of any company in this year's top 250, according to WSJ. 

"What you are seeing is some weakness in financials relative to where they've been in past years and also some deterioration in customer satisfaction in the tech industry,'' said Rick Wartzman, head of the Drucker Institute's KH Moon Center for a Functioning Society. 

Elon Musk's companies were dispersed among the list. Tesla ranked 76th this year, behind PayPal, which emerged out of the online bank he co-founded as Space X isn't publicly traded, so isn't on the list. Twitter, which he took ownership of in October, was outside of WSJ's Top 250, but is ranked 680 in the Drucker Institute's underlying top 1000 list.

The institute's rankings used data through the end of June before Elon Musk took over Twitter. Telsa had an overall score of 64.6 with a financial strength score of 87.6.  

The WSJ notes that automakers climbed in this year's rankings because of electric vehicles, which improved their social responsibility and customer satisfaction scores. 

GM and Ford have long wait times for new electric models. Ford, which in March said it will spend $50 billion on ramping up electric vehicle production through to 2026, saw its ranking rise from 26th last year to 15th today. GM's ranking rose from 16th last year. Meanwhile, Whirlpool leaped from 39th last year to 5th on the strength of customer satisfaction, social responsibility, and innovation scores.  

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