Eyes and ears: new research says CEOs are unaware of cultural problems

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A recent report surveying Australian companies shows CEOs may have different perceptions of their companies’ cultures than that of lower-level employees—emphasising the need for EAs to be the eyes and ears for their executive.

The research conducted by the Australian HR Institute (AHRI) surveyed 967 people across a variety of roles and industries. According to the survey results, CEOs and employees don’t agree on the state of the company’s culture.

The report claims that CEOs and upper management consider their organisations’ ‘reality’ as close to ideal, based on the company culture and values being practiced in the workplace. However, lower-level employees consider the culture’s ‘reality’ much further from ideal.

For example, 77 percent of responding CEOs agreed their organisation doesn’t tolerate short-term and self-interested behaviour, whereas only 41 percent of other employees agree. The findings surmise that CEOs and upper management might be looking at their organisations through rose-tinted glasses.

“It should be noted that the report doesn’t show that leaders are completely wrong headed or blind. Rather, it shows there is a gap between their perception and that of the rest of employees,” the report’s summary reads.

EAs are in a unique position to close this gap. By working closely with both the executive suite and the various levels and departments of an organisation they can feed real information back to the executive. Keeping a close eye on culture and behaviour which doesn’t meet an executive’s expectations is—according to these new findings—more important than ever.