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Employees frustrated with managers’ indecision


Forty six per cent of employees believe their bosses are poor decision makers, with many blaming incompetence and lack of confidence as contributory factors.

The research, published today and conducted by YouGov for Investors in People, reveals some contradictory results, however, with 82 per cent of bosses saying that managers in their organisation are in fact good decision makers.

Yet of those employees who say their bosses are poor decision-makers, 61 per cent report feelings of frustration or anger, or a loss of respect for the manager.

The survey also raises further concern, as it found that 83 per cent of employees believe that poor decision making damages morale, 51 per cent say it reduces productivity and nearly one in five say it allows competitors to get ahead.

Simon Jones, acting chief executive at Investors in People UK, remarked that it is a worrying problem for UK organisations. “Effective decision making is a vital skill for any manager, and critical to the smooth operation of the organisation as a whole. Indecisive managers are a drain on the company and a major frustration for their teams, damaging employee motivation which can in turn undermine productivity and affect the organisation’s progress.”

He added: “It is particularly worrying that managers are failing to involve other people as they put plans in place. A participative, inclusive culture is key and presenting ‘fait accompli’ decisions is not the way to achieve this.”

One Response

  1. The UK’s poor deciosion-makers
    The comments by Simon Jones, Acting Chief Executive at Investors in People, into their research about poor decision-making in the UK lends support to other, wider, research that indicates that our managerial skills are, indeed, less than optimal and the single biggest cause of poor productivity and competitiveness.

    For example Capgemini, the consulting, technology and outsourcing services company, has found that one in four of the decisions made by managers and/or direct board report positions in companies turning over more than £200 million a year are wrong. The interesting feature of their research is that this is a self-admission. In the financial services sector, the figure was even higher – nearly one in three. My own assessment is that this is probably an under-estimate.

    IiP’s remedy – making employees more inclusive to the process – is only part of the solution. On its own, it is virtually ineffective in our highly flexible labour market, where individuals – including managers – now stay with their employers less than five years on average. Such jobs discontinuity imposes on employers the phenomenon of institution-specific corporate amnesia and the inability to better benefit from their own hindsight.

    To ensure that productivity is continually improved, it is necessary to get business schools to better teach and organisations to more effectively implement the wider discipline known as experiential learning, a field still largely misconceived, conspicuously absent and studiously ignored in the workplace. In a flexible labour market this would include the capture of departing knowledge and the critical reflection of an institution-specific evidential base by transient managers before decision-making. Only then will employee inclusion make sense.


    Arnold Kransdorff. author “Corporate DNA: How Organizational Memory can Improve Poor Decision-Making” (Gower, 2006).
    email: [email protected]

    10 Hampton Hall Farm, Moor Lane, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom WDC3 1LF. Tel: +44 01923-896288 or (m) +44 07906-059435.

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