Americans Look to Businesses, Not Washington, for Social Change . / Credit: Change Image via Shutterstock

With the president and Congress stuck in gridlock, many Americans believe businesses hold the most power to implement change in the country, a new study finds.

Americans are deeply skeptical of Washington and are looking to businesses to step in where their elected officials have failed, marketing and communications firm Havas Worldwide finds. Nearly two-thirds of the U.S. residents surveyed believe businesses bear as much responsibility as government for driving positive social change.

"The study makes it clear that U.S. consumers expect businesses to play a higher role than making goods and generating profits," said Tom Morton, chief strategic officer of Havas New York and co-chief strategy officer of Havas Worldwide North America. "As businesses grow larger and more powerful, they are expected to take on duties that were once the tasks of government."

The research found that two-thirds of Americans believe that the more powerful corporations become, the more obligated they are to behave ethically and with the public interest in mind, while half wish their favorite brands and companies played a larger role in their local communities.

"We're at a point where people think that the world's problems have outgrown the reach and the capability of governments," Morton said, "It's time for companies to step up."

James Lou, executive vice president and chief strategy officer of Havas Worldwide Chicago and co-chief strategy officer of Havas Worldwide North America, said people are expecting more from corporate America than ever before

"Being ethical and minimizing a company's impact on the environment is no longer enough," Lou said. "Americans want real leadership from the business community and real solutions to the pressing challenges we face as a country and as a global community."

Lou said the good news is that there is more and more evidence that those companies that come forward to create change and offer solutions are being rewarded with stronger customer loyalty and improved bottom lines.

"Doing good has become one of the most reliable pathways to doing well," he said.

The study was based on surveys of 10,219 adults in 31 countries, including 503 from the U.S.

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