The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

EPA Scientistsâ€TM Distrust of Bosses May Threaten Research Integrity

by Brendan Coyne

Aug. 4, 2005 – A recently revealed 2003 survey of employees with the Environmental Protection Agency’s research office shows that while many are happy with their jobs, a growing level of dissatisfaction with management actions and policies is eroding trust within the office

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In assessing workplace attitudes, the survey asked general questions about conditions within the three branches of the EPA’s Office of Research and Development (R&D). The results show that while 76 percent of respondents were satisfied with their work, relations and the perception of those relations between scientists and their mangers were less positive, especially from employees’ perspectives.

The survey results were released Monday by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a watchdog and advocacy organization that regularly works on behalf of government employees. PEER obtained the survey in July after filing a Freedom of Information Act request in March, according to a statement by the organization.

Written responses by several respondents reflect the belief among some scientists that communication breakdowns and a lack of knowledge sharing among research departments threaten the integrity and future of the Agency’s research.

The survey shows that lab workers have the lowest opinion of R&D management, with 30 percent agreeing that supervisors handled situations competently and 24 percent disagreeing. Just 20 percent of lab workers said managers took worker interests under consideration and 27 percent said management followed through on commitments.

On trust, managers and employees are quite far apart. A majority of the former said they trusted employees, while the survey reported nearly opposite results for the workers, with R&D office staffers standing out as the sole exception.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Brendan Coyne is a contributing journalist.

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