How we conduct the survey

The Most Admired list is the definitive report card on corporate reputations. Fortune started with approximately 1,400 companies: the Fortune 1,000 -- the 1,000 largest U.S. companies ranked by revenue and non-U.S. companies in Fortune's global 500 database with revenue of $10 billion or more. We then selected the 15 largest for each international industry and the 10 largest for each U.S. industry, surveying a total of 687 companies from 30 countries. To create the 57 industry lists, our survey partners at Hay Group asked executives, directors, and analysts to rate companies in their industry on nine criteria, from investment value to social responsibility. A company's score must rank in the top half of its industry survey to be listed. Because of the distribution of responses, only the aggregate industry scores and ranks are published in health care, pharmacy, and other services; mining and crude oil production; specialty retailers -- apparel; tobacco; trading companies; and wholesalers -- diversified.

To arrive at the top 50 Most Admired Companies overall, the Hay Group asked the 3,800 respondents to select the 10 companies they admired most, from a list made up of the companies that ranked in the top 25% in last yearâÄôs survey, plus those that finished in the top 20% of their industry. Anyone could vote for any company in any industry, which is why some results may seem anomalous. For example, BMW is in the top 15 Most Admired Companies and second in the motor vehicles industry, behind Toyota Motor (ranked 29th in the top 50).

Hay Group, which has conducted the research for the World's Most Admired Companies list since 1997 and for America's Most Admired Companies since 2001, is a global management consulting firm. For information about Hay Group's services, go to haygroup.com.

Fortune is no longer publishing the list of World's Most Admired contenders online. If you are interested in obtaining your companyâÄôs industry score and ranking, please phone or e-mail your request to Douglas Elam of Fortune's List Department. Please call Douglas at 212-522-6841 or email him at: douglas_elam@fortune.com

If you have further questions about the Most Admired Companies, please e-mail fortunespecials@fortune.com.