2018 Thunderbird Opinions Most Admired Companies Survey

The Cost of Scandal: Facebook, Uber, United, and VW vs. Most Admired

Our survey revealed when trouble turns into an integrity fail, the result can be devastating. Just ask our 37th President.


  • The widest ‘scandal effect’ was a 60% variance between Google and Facebook after its Cambridge Analytica dustup, followed by an unimpressive performance by Mark Zuckerberg in the Senate hearing; secondly, United’s scandal effect resulted in a 64% variance between it and Southwest ) after Dr. Dao’s disturbing eviction.
  • After Uber suffered from turmoil in the C suite, its score is 44% compared to Lyft with 78%.
  • BMW scored 81% compared to Volkswagen at 36% after the company’s emission cheating failure.
  • Another challenge with reputation failures is the “Nixon Effect” (see box below). It refers to the long term damage to reputation that occurs when incompetent crisis management becomes the crisis.

Admired v. Un-admired


As with the 37th president, the consequences of a small-time burglary at the Watergate Hotel complex continue to overshadow his great accomplishments:

Professor of Leadership. Extraordinary Lives Project. Author “Be Somebody” (2021); 2019 Telly Award IconicVoices.tv; ex-publisher Forbes