May 18, 2007

Harvard Study: Employees Fear Speaking Up, Even to Ombuds

The Harvard Business Review has the results of a study into why employees withhold ideas from their bosses. The research involved 200 individuals from all levels of a company that had many formal mechanisms for encouraging people to speak up about serious problems, even an ombudsperson. Yet half the employee respondents said they felt it was not safe to challenge traditional ways of doing things. What they were most reticent to talk about were not problems but rather creative ideas for improving products, processes, or performance. The study indicates that ombuds cannot be fully effective unless management fosters a culture that invites and acknowledges workers' ideas. (HBR Online.)

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