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NASA Culture Survey: Only Half of Employees Believe Management is Honest

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
March 19, 2008
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The results of the 2007 NASA Culture Survey have been published, and it does not paint an especially good picture of the credibility of the agency’s management under Administrator Mike Griffin.

Only 51 percent of the 5,408 employees who responded to the survey answered “Yes” to the statement: “I can rely on management to be honest.” When broken down by field center, only 36 percent of employees surveyed at Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., found management to be honest. This was followed by NASA Glenn in Cleveland (39 percent) and NASA Headquarters in Washington (46 percent). The highest figure was at Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston (62 percent).

NASA Ames under Center Director S. Pete Worden consistently scored at or near the bottom of a number of questions, including whether management encourages innovation, communicates on a timely basis, develops leaders effectively, and fosters an environment where employees feel free to raise dissenting opinions without fear that their careers will suffer. NASA Headquarters and NASA Glenn also had low scores in these areas.

Johnson Space Flight Center, which runs the agency’s human space program, had fairly high marks for many of these same questions. Communications within the center were ranked relatively high, and management was given good marks for encouraging and rewarding innovation in most areas.

The report indicates that approximately 30% (5,408) of the agency’s 18,152 employees responded to the web-based survey between September 4 and October 30, 2007. Employees were sent an e-mail invitation with a log-in ID and password.

Griffin’s “Ask the Administrator” feature on NASA’s website fared poorly. A mere 26 percent of respondents found the feature to be “quite useful.” Only the NASA Strategic Management and Governance Handbook ranked lower at 21 percent.

The report includes a two-page appendix consisting of Griffin’s January 28th message to NASA employees titled A Day of Remembrance in which the administrator “articulated everyone’s responsibility for building trust and open communication.”

One response to “NASA Culture Survey: Only Half of Employees Believe Management is Honest”

  1. Sue Massey says:

    I like your writing style. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    – Sue.

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