When corporations wanted employees who did only what they were told, employee surveys may have served some purpose. They were rooted in the traditional command-and-control structures, and, no doubt, provided management with a barometer for employee feeling. They may even still provide useful information on improvements to the staff canteen , or how to better manage the car park. But, can employee surveys provide anything useful in businesses that espouse employee empowerment and forward-thinking organisational learning? I am not convinced they can.
They encourage behaviours that leave employees and management in their traditional places. They do not encourage accountability by employees, and they compel management to feel that they need to fix the things that employees tell them need fixing. Neither of these results is healthy and neither does anything to transform businesses or organisations into genuine learning systems. In fact, what we get is individual defensive reasoning and