Ashridge Management Index 2012-2013
The Ashridge Management Index is a poll of the views of managers and leaders which was launched in 1994. The aim of the research is to examine the current business environment and to better understand some of the key challenges and opportunities which exist for managers and leaders.
The latest Index explores views and attitudes toward topics including:
- management and organisational challenges
- personal challenges
- organisational change
- learning and development.
Over 1,100 senior and middle managers from the private and public sector were surveyed. The report highlights many positive findings but equally there a number of areas which give cause for concern – and interestingly it is the same issues arising year on year.
Although businesses are facing tough economic times and unprecedented challenges, 84% of managers surveyed are upbeat and say their organisation is well placed to survive and to thrive post-recession. But whilst the leadership outlook is generally positive, the research also identifies worrying shortfalls in communications, succession planning, virtual working practices and trust.
Although over half of managers surveyed say their organisation has suffered in the recession, the majority, nearly two-thirds, say that motivation and employee engagement levels are being sustained.
The report does however reveal a number of worrying shortfalls in management and leadership. For example, excellent communication skills are essential to effective leadership, but respondents indicate that top managers need to communicate more often and more clearly. Only 49% of top leaders spend enough time communicating with staff, and just 52% of top leaders are rated for communicating clearly. Another cause for concern is that many businesses are failing to future-proof their leadership teams – 48% of managers say their organisation is not doing enough to develop the next generation of leaders.
Managers’ roles have changed radically dramatically since the first Ashridge Management Index in the 1990s. A key trend is the growth of virtual teams – most (77%) say that increasingly they are required to manage cross-functional and virtual teams. However, only 45% feel that their organisation provides sufficient support for virtual team-working.
A 24/7 business culture is having a negative impact on many managers. Over half of managers feel ‘snowed under’ with too many e-mails and voice-mail messages, and more (66%) of those who are managing large teams say they feel overloaded. Levels of work/life balance indicate that many managers continue to operate in a demanding, pressured work environment. The majority of respondents work longer than 48 hours each week and most managers (64%) say they regularly take work home.
With the on-going debate about levels of trust in politicians, bankers and in wider business since the economic downturn, the survey explores organisational trust for the first time. Trust is vital in business, but only just over half of respondents (55%) say there is a strong culture of trust in their organisation. A key challenge for business is to build and regain public trust: it has rarely faced more suspicion and scepticism. Businesses must ensure core operational strategies deliver the right approach in dealings with staff, customers and investors to develop values and standards that promote honesty and transparency.
The Ashridge Management Index 2012/13 is written by Fiona Dent, Viki Holton and Jan Rabbetts and a copy of the Executive Summary is available here.
The report includes in-depth interviews with a number of organisations on the issues of trust, values, change and motivation. Company case studies include
- The Royal Opera House (organisational trust)
- Newey and Eyre, SABMiller (change)
- Mencap and Jyske Bank (employee engagement and motivation)
Ashridge Management Index 2010
The Ashridge Management Index (AMI), a periodic survey of managers’ and leaders’ views and attitudes, was launched in 1994. The aim of the research is to examine the current business environment and to better understand some of the key challenges and opportunities which exist for managers and leaders.
Conducted in the autumn of 2009, this latest research explored the views and attitudes toward topics including: management and organisational challenges; personal challenges; organisational change; motivation and learning and development. Over 1200 senior and middle managers from the private and public sector were surveyed. In addition to the survey we conducted interviews with organisations including Sun Microsystems and Cisco.
The report highlights many positive findings but equally there a number of areas which give cause for concern – and interestingly it is the same issues arising year on year. Fiona Dent, Director of Executive Education at Ashridge comments:
"This survey is a fascinating insight on the highs, and some of the lows, that managers are currently experiencing. It's been one of the toughest years in business and we were interested to see how this is impacting on organisations and on managers."
In the following video, Fiona discusses the research.
Management and organisational challenges
One of the most positive findings to emerge is that despite the extremely difficult economic crisis of 2009 the majority of managers (91%) say they are proud to work for their organisation. Views about leaders are generally positive too with 81% saying their immediate line management is effective, and 71% saying that top leadership in their organisation is effective.
However, the survey highlights a communication short-fall among some leaders. Just over half of the respondents say that they feel their organisation does not spend sufficient time communicating with staff.
There are very high levels of engagement – 90% amongst managers and this figure was slightly higher for those who have worked for their organisation for six years or more.
Work/life balance continues to be a struggle with senior management. 68% say they work longer than 48 hours per week with a similar number taking work home.
Many respondents appear sceptical about change projects with many feeling that the chance of successful implementation is not good. Just under half of those surveyed believed that their organisation had achieved the business benefits anticipated from the change initiatives. There also appears to be a serious issue around managers and leaders not having the right skills to manage change.
Challenging and interesting work is ranked as the number one factor in motivating managers. Other highly rated factors include: the opportunity to continually learn and develop skills and knowledge, followed by being treated with respect.
Learning and development
Few organisations are offering sufficient support for career development as around one in two managers say they do not receive any support.
Coaching is increasingly becoming a popular development option and the majority of managers (72%) say that they have spent more time coaching their staff in recent years. A slightly higher proportion says their own development would benefit from executive coaching.
Public Sector Management Index 2010
The Public Sector Management Index (PMI) is a sector-specific version of the Ashridge Management Index. It was first conducted in 2008 in partnership with the The National School of Government (NSG). Learn about the findings of the 2010 PMI and download a copy of the PMI report here.