I learn that my impression is not wide of the mark. The Economist quotes from a survey on corporate culture which says that what employees think of their organisations is at odds with the delusions their bosses harbour. The survey was commissioned by Dov Seidman, author of 'How', a book that emphasises that how businesses are run is as important at what they accomplish.
It(the survey) found that 43% of those surveyed described their company’s culture as based on command-and-control, top-down management or leadership by coercion—what Mr Seidman calls “blind obedience”. The largest category, 54%, saw their employer’s culture as top-down, but with skilled leadership, lots of rules and a mix of carrots and sticks, which Mr Seidman calls “informed acquiescence”. Only 3% fell into the category of “self-governance”, in which everyone is guided by a “set of core principles and values that inspire everyone to align around a company’s mission”Does it matter how the company is run? Apparently, yes. A high proportion of people in the "self-governance" and "informed acquiescence" categories believe that their firms adopt good ideas; not so in other categories. Equally interesting, the perceptions of bosses are at variance of those of their employees:
Tragicomically, the study found that bosses often believe their own guff, even if their underlings do not. Bosses are eight times more likely than the average to believe that their organisation is self-governing. (The cheery folk in human resources are also much more optimistic than other employees.) Some 27% of bosses believe their employees are inspired by their firm. Alas, only 4% of employees agree. Likewise, 41% of bosses say their firm rewards performance based on values rather than merely on financial results. Only 14% of employees swallow this.It would be interesting to see whether firms with a superior culture (as perceived by employees, not bosses) perform better. Then, we have a strong case for fostering an open, non-tyrannical culture. This may be achievable in a relatively small organisation. A large organisation that achieves this is truly worthy of praise. I invite readers to name a few.
My own impression is that the atmosphere is most corporations tends to be toxic, if not hellish, and they simply would not perform but for the fact that they are able to dole out large amounts of money. Bosses who think their companies are little paradises are living in one- meant for fools.