Employees Give Their Firms 'Passive-Aggressive,' 'Overmanaged' Labels

December 16, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - More than three out of 10 (32%) employees say their company seems congenial, even conflict free, yet still resists meaningful change, when labeling the organization "passive-aggressive."

The next most common corporate type, tabbed by 18% of the respondents to Booz Allen Hamilton’s Organizational DNA study, was “overmanaged,” with bureaucracy and politics hindering action. Of employees who viewed their companies in this light, a quarter work in Information Technology (IT), followed by manufacturing (24%) and sales (21%).

Least likely to be labeled overmanaged are small companies, where only 17% of employees responded to this description. Senior managers also have a different view of their companies than other employees as fewer senior managers tend to see their organizations as overmanaged (13%), compared with 19% to 22% of other levels of employees.

Likewise, senior managers are also the least likely to view their companies as passive-aggressive, (26%) compared with 34% to 36% of remaining levels of employees. Large passive-aggressive responses also came from insurance industry employees, where nearly half (48%) identified their company as such.

On the other end, the least common organization type was the “outgrown” firm, which does not expand decision-making authority to match its size. Only 2% of respondents identified their company with this trait and no employees in the insurance, consumer durables or real estate industries believe their organizations are outgrown.

The Organizational DNA Assessment diagnoses corporate personalities by examining a company’s structure, decision rights, motivators and information. Companies are then sorted into one of seven distinct organizational DNA profiles, which also includes:

  • Resilient Organization – f lexible enough to adapt quickly to external market shifts, yet steadfastly focused on and aligned to a coherent business strategy.
  • Just-in-Time Organization – i nconsistently prepared for change, but can turn on a dime when necessary, without losing sight of the big picture.
  • Military Organization – o ften driven by a small, involved senior team, it succeeds primarily through the will and foresight of its leaders.
  • Fits-and-Starts Organization – contains scores of smart, motivated and talented people who rarely pull in the same direction at the same time.

Of the 3,100 respondents toBoozAllen’s online evaluation, almost half (48%) of the responses have come from senior or middle management, and the industries best represented are professional services (21%) and software (11%). Companies of a broad range of sizes are represented, with 38% of respondents working for companies that have annual revenues of $500 million or more. More information is available by contacting Karen Guterlat guterl_karen@bah.com .