Organisation - February 14, 2013

No lack of confidence in Executive Board after all

Error has been confirmed by Ernst & Young.



It seemed from the 2012 Employee Monitor that we were losing confidence in the Executive Board. The proportion of Wageningen UR staff who had confidence in the directors had fallen to 45 per cent from 50 per cent in 2010. However, last week the board announced on the intranet that there had been an error in the survey results and confidence had actually risen. That naturally raises questions.
So what went wrong?
What apparently happened was this. In 2010, 40 per cent had confidence in the Executive Board, 40 per cent had no confidence and 20 percent did not have an opinion. An error was made whereby the 'no opinion' category disappeared and those votes were divided over the other two categories. That made it look as though the proportion with confidence had fallen from 50 to 45 per cent whereas it had actually risen from 40 to 45 per cent.
Who discovered the error?
The researcher herself in the first instance. Astrid Hendriksen is a freelancer who works for Wageningen UR.
Hmm, validating your own work?
The board realized this could look suspicious, which is why it asked the accountants Ernst & Young to check all the datasets and reports. They confirmed the error and concluded that the other percentages were correct.
How did the error come to light?
Partly thanks to Resource. The editors wanted to interview Aalt Dijkhuizen about the fall in confidence levels. In preparing for this, Dijkhuizen asked for a summary of the long-term trend, which is when Astrid Hendriksen discovered the error.
Should we believe this story?
It seems plausible. At any rate the central employees' council is convinced. When asked, chairman Cees van Dijk says: 'An error was made. These thinks happen, but I'm pleased they put it right. Of course the board had to tread very warily in dealing with this.
And at the end of the day it's a good sign that confidence has increased.'  GvC
 

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