Zogby | UTICA, New York – One out of every four working Americans (25%) describes their workplace as a dictatorship, while just 34% of bosses in the American workplace react well to valid criticism, according to a new Workplace Democracy Association/Zogby Interactive survey.

The survey also found that less than half of working Americans – 46% – said their workplace promotes creative or inventive ideas, while barely half – 51% – said their co-workers often feel motivated or are mostly motivated at work.

Asher Adelman, Founder and President of the Workplace Democracy Association, said that “As we prepare to commemorate our nation’s independence and celebrate the freedoms that we often take for granted, it is unfortunate and ironic that so many Americans work at organizations that are managed like mini-dictatorships.” Just 52% of respondents in the nationwide survey said their boss treats subordinates well, the survey revealed.

“Traditionally-managed companies, by inadvertently draining the motivation levels of their employees, are stifling productivity, innovation, and creativity. Companies cannot expect to remain competitive when such large numbers of employees do not feel like they are treated like responsible adults nor when they feel like their input has little or no impact on the company’s decision-making process,” said Adelman.

Possible Solutions

Adopting democratic processes can have a significant impact on employee morale and thus improve their levels of productivity and creativity: 80% of workers said they work better when they are given the freedom to decide how to best do their job.

Another problem in the workplace identified in the survey: 31% of respondents said they believe that their human resources departments or upper management almost always or sometimes hire the wrong people. But, the survey indicated, a solution to poor hires may exist within the workplace. Almost one person in five (18%) workers said they would feel more motivated at work if employees were selected and hired by groups of coworkers instead of by the bosses.

“Companies that want to boost employee engagement levels must adopt democratic and innovative practices in the way the entire company is managed,” said Adelman. “Executives should be sharing information with all employees about the company’s ongoing performance and goals, and employees should be empowered with greater discretion and decision-making abilities. In addition, it goes without saying that employees should be rewarded and compensated when the company is successful in achieving its goals.”

The nationwide interactive survey was conducted May 20-22, 2008, and included 2,475 respondents. The measure of error is +/- 2.0 percentage points. This is the largest national representative study of this phenomenon in the U.S. to date.


Results can be found online The Workplace Democracy Association is the sole U.S. nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and raising awareness about the benefits of workplace democracy.

For content, contact: Asher Adelman, Workplace Democracy Association 949-273-4372

For methodology, contact: Fritz Wenzel, 315-624-0200 ext. 229 or 419-205-0287  or