One-in-four workers describe employers as ‘petty tyrants’

With all of the hullabaloo about the state right-to-work measure on the November ballot, the public opinion researcher Zogby Interactive released a poll that brings not so good news to both hiring managers and anti-union advocates:

One out of every four working Americans (25%) describes their workplace as a dictatorship, while just 34% of bosses in the American workplace react well to valid criticism, according to a new Workplace Democracy Association/Zogby Interactive survey.

The survey also found that less than half of working Americans — 46% — said their workplace promotes creative or inventive ideas, while barely half — 51% — said their co-workers often feel motivated or are mostly motivated at work.

Asher Adelman, Founder and President of the Workplace Democracy Association, said that "As we prepare to commemorate our nation’s independence and celebrate the freedoms that we often take for granted, it is unfortunate and ironic that so many Americans work at organizations that are managed like mini-dictatorships." Just 52% of respondents in the nationwide survey said their boss treats subordinates well, the survey revealed.

"Traditionally-managed companies, by inadvertently draining the motivation levels of their employees, are stifling productivity, innovation, and creativity. Companies cannot expect to remain competitive when such large numbers of employees do not feel like they are treated like responsible adults nor when they feel like their input has little or no impact on the company’s decision-making process," said Adelman.

The Workplace Democracy Association helpfully suggests solutions for how management might redress these conditions to make bedraggled working folk happier:

Give them the freedom to decide how to do their jobs

Select new co-workers through employee hiring teams rather than solely by management

Share company performance data

Empower staff to make decisions

Reward employees with bonuses for attaining corporate goals


According to Zogby, the nationwide interactive survey was conducted May 20-22, 2008, and included 2,475 respondents. The measure of error is +/- 2 percentage points. This is the largest national representative study of this phenomenon in the United States to date.

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