CEOs don't see bureaucracy drag like front-line workers do: 6 key takeaways

More than 7,000 Harvard Business Review readers, from front-line employees to CEOs, recently revealed how bureaucracy affects their organizations.

Here are six key takeaways.

1. The average respondent worked in an organization with more than six management layers, according to HBR. In organizations with more than 5,000 employees, front-line employees worked under eight or more management levels.

2. Roughly two-thirds of respondents reported their organization felt more centralized, rule-bound and conservative during the past few years. Employees heading up customer service, sales, production, logistics and research and development expressed this sentiment more than human resources, finance, planning, purchasing and administrative personnel. 

3. More than three-fourths of respondents said front-line employees were "never" or "occasionally" part of developing or designing major changes.

4. For respondents working in companies with more than 1,000 employees, 96 percent revealed it was "not easy" or "very difficult" for front-line employees to launch an initiative.

5. Twenty-six percent of CEOs and 36 percent of front-line employees agreed a lack of information on the front lines doesn't hinder decentralizing responsibility and authority, the report states. 

6. While almost two-thirds of front-line workers said desire for power acted as a hindrance to trimming bureaucracy, a third of CEOs responded similarly. 

View HBR's full analysis here

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