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Employee Questionaires

A (self-evident) example of the internal orientation of decisions is employee questionnaires. They have established themselves as methods, which the organisation believes can help it to gain information about what is ‘the situation’. However, it must be made clear that such questionnaires are profoundly recursive (repetitive) processes. The internal clients, usually the heads of the hierarchy, (also) decide, with the pre-supposed expectation of certain answers to the questions asked, over what should be questioned and what not(!). The responding employees decide with the pre-supposed expectation of certain reactions to answers, what responses they give. Thus, hierarchy and personnel are coupled in double contingency with each other. Such questionnaires, therefore, always give all sides feedback about the others and (!) about themselves. And they provide information about mutual adaptation processes and power relationships inside the organisation. The latter is often overlooked. Nevertheless, such questionnaires remain an effective method for receiving communication about the consistencies and inconsistencies within the organisation. Here, the written and archivable form of the results also enables them to flow into the memory of the organisation.

Whether the results actually lead to different decisions or whether they ‘only’ serve to motivate employees (“We are interested in you!” – “At last!”) can then remain open. However, the more often such questionnaires remain without consequences – which is one popular form of answer at the head of the hierarchy, the more demotivating the effect is. Hardly anything is more disappointing than the disappointment of budding expectations of change.