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Why Seven Out of 10 Executives Would Prefer...

…not to work at large corporations.

This is a guest blog by Emily Schmitt, who joined BusinessWeek’s Small Business team and Investing team in June.

Here’s a telling take on company dynamics. A recent study concluded that 71% of business leaders prefer to work for small- or medium-size companies that employ less than 10,000 people. The study, conducted by NFI Research two weeks ago, surveyed 2,000 senior executives and managers working at companies large and small in 50 countries. Of the 71 percent who preferred not to work at large companies, 40 percent said they would rather work at a medium size corporation, while 31 percent would like to work for a small company. What’s more, 75 percent of executives listed compensation as the primary reason they stay at their jobs.

I spoke with NFI’s CEO, Chuck Martin, about the study and asked him to speculate why he thinks executives want to work for smaller companies. Martin said managers feel like it’s harder to work for a large company because they are often publicly traded and must adhere to a regimented conduct of work. There’s less room for innovation, whereas smaller companies find it easier to change course, especially during a recession.

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