Should the boss have all the answers?
Joyce Park stashed this in Modern problems
I am assuming that the people who were asked this question were among the most educated in each nation. Strangest finding to me: why the gigantic difference among European nations??!?
Europe has many different cultures.
The slide seems to indicate that Nordic cultures are the most collaborative / questioning.
I wonder where the USA would be on this slide.
I think it's a cultural difference. There was a fascinating article years ago in....errr...I think Harvard Business Review....about how Europeans, particularly Scandinavians are flabbergasted when they work in the US and find such a staunch top-down style management. Apparently they are used to questioning the boss and the boss doesn't take that negatively. It's expected. While here in America, employees feel they should keep their mouths shut and let the boss handle things even if they disagree.
I think I wrote a blog post on the article so I'll see if I can find the original source. It was very interesting and I think helps explains the above graph about whether the boss has all the answers.
It's not just companies in the U.S. that are top down.
Our military, our government, our schools, and our nonprofits are all structured this way too.
Ok, it wasn't HBR. The article was in the Conference Board magazine which is no longer available. You can read my blog post which discusses it if you are interested. (From way back in June of 2006).
I agree that Americans don't speak their minds as much because we fear being fired, we fear litigation, and we see being liked as conducive to advancement in a company.
There is definitely a hierarchy that you don't want to upset. It would be interesting to explore the Scandinavian business culture and see how it differs in this regard. The concern in the US is that by not allowing/encouraging employees to speak their minds, perhaps it encourages employees to gripe amongst themselves and in social media. If employees voices were to be heard internally and taken seriously perhaps it would create a better corporate culture without the need to vent inappropriately.
In Silicon Valley we see all types of non-hierarchical startups with varying degrees of success.
Suffices to say that employees griping with helpful suggestions is not always good, either.