Time Inc.'s Fortune magazine released its fourteenth annual World's Most Admired Companies list.

Hay Group, a global management consulting firm, helped Fortune to identify the World's Most Admired Companies list, which includes conducting the survey and analyzing the results. In addition, Hay Group performed supplemental research on how these organizations are sustaining performance.

Companies at the top of the list are more adept at responding to changing markets and equipping employees with the opportunity and necessary skills to execute corporate strategies, according to Hay Group's research.

Hay Group has collaborated with FORTUNE magazine annually since 1997 to identify, select and rank the World's Most Admired Companies and uncover the business practices that make these companies both highly regarded and successful.

The World’s Most Admired Companies study examined nine attributes of reputation that have been determined to make a company worthy of admiration:

-- Ability to attract and retain talented people

-- Quality of management

-- Social responsibility to the community and the environment

-- Innovative

-- Quality of products or services

-- Wise use of corporate assets

-- Financial soundness

-- Long-term investment value

-- Effectiveness in doing business globally

Amid economic and organizational changes, the World’s Most Admired Companies have created an edge over their peer companies by leveraging the resources and opportunities they have at all levels, not just in the C-Suite, said Jeff Shiraki, Vice President at Hay Group.

These companies are committed to continuous improvement and innovation, even in areas of strength, and are enlisting the creativity of their employees to help stay competitive, said Shiraki.

Few findings from the survey are:

-- 88 percent of World’s Most Admired Companies prioritize innovation versus 79 percent of peers.

-- Emerging markets are key for 79 percent of World’s Most Admired Companies, while only 59 percent of peer firms think so.

-- 94 percent of World’s Most Admired Companies are prepared to take risks to increase effectiveness veruss 77 percent of peers.

-- Reward links effectively to performance at 89 percent of World’s Most Admired Companies compared to 77 percent of peer firms.

-- 91 percent of World’s Most Admired Companies ask employees for ideas on improving efficiency, compared to 76 percent of peers.

Candidate companies include the FORTUNE 1000, Global 500 and top non-US companies. To determine which companies have the strongest reputations, we ask 15,000 top executives, directors and financial analysts to rate companies overall and relative to peer organizations, Hay Group said in a statement.

The World's most admired companies by order are: Apple Inc., Google Inc., Berkshire Hathaway, Southwest Airlines, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Amazon.com, FedEx, Microsoft, and McDonald's.