Democratic Assessment of Corporate Impact?

The web makes it easier to do lots of things, including bad social science. This time, it’s bad social science in aid of evaluating corporate social impact.

dotherightthing is a place online where you can get unfiltered information about the impacts of companies on people and the world and make it worth their while to “do the right thing.”

Basically, it’s a place where people cite news stories (or gossip) about various companies, indicate just how well or badly they think the story (or gossip) reflects upon the company, and then a net score is eventually produced to tell you how socially responsible the companies are. Or, as the site’s owners put it, the site lets you “Track the ‘social performance’ of companies in real time”. (That, of course, is false. The site does no such thing. What it does is lets you track reports of social performance in real time. Big difference.)

The flaws, here, are mostly too obvious to state. When an accusation counts as data, where the contributors of data are self-selected, and when anonymity is encouraged, you’re pretty much toast as far as methodology goes.

Here’s a nice commentary about this site, courtesy of blogger Marginal Revolution: Measuring the social impact of corporate behavior
Thanks Andrew!

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