Only about a third of respondents, for instance, say executives frequently disagree about the attractiveness of future growth opportunities—hardly a topic that would seem to lend itself to unanimity. What’s more, a majority of respondents say it’s at least “somewhat” important to avoid contradicting superiors.
This can be expensive. Executives think that 19% of their firm's capital investments should never have been made. That suggests that firms waste around £25bn a year in the UK alone.
And this could be an understatement:
Roughly 40 percent...don’t have a point of view on how many investments should be terminated. This figure could be a warning sign that postmortem analysis is infrequent at many companies.
This might be the disconfirmation bias at work; people don't like to look for evidence that might prove them wrong.
All this is striking because the survey contains a selection bias in favour of finding executives who approve of their firm's behaviour. An executive who thought his colleagues were all ignorant toadies who wasted millions of pounds on crack-brained investments would probably not stay with his firm for long.
So, perhaps this shows that traditionally-organized firms are a poor way of making decisions.
Or am I guilty of the confirmation bias?