National

Leadership data shows plenty of work to do

By AAP Newswire

Australians believe their hospitals, schools and police forces are doing more for the "greater good" than any other sector - especially politicians, new data shows.

The Australian Leadership Index measures perceptions of how well institutions are contributing to society, and how they could do better.

Academics from Swinburne University have been polling more than 1000 Australians a number of times over the past year to track attitudes towards a collection of major institutions.

The data is now public and will be updated every three months.

"The idea of this is to help conversations around leadership for the greater good, and hopefully help improve the state of leadership for the greater good in the country," researcher Jason Pallant said.

Public institutions like hospitals and health care, schools and justice have the highest perceived performance scores, along with charities.

The surveys found they were most likely to be ethical, accountable and responsive to the public's needs.

But the federal government, trade unions, religious organisations and multinational companies all polled significantly lower.

Dr Pallant said the data would enable people to track institutions improving in the public's eyes and institutions deteriorating.

The data showed respondents didn't expect small and medium businesses to be too transparent or ethical, but they expected significantly more from national companies.

Expectations for the federal government were also much higher than its perceived performance in every area, including accountability, ethical conduct, environmental outcomes and balancing people's needs.

The data compares the number of people who have positive feelings about an institution's leadership with those who have negative opinions.

The private sector was the worst at -18, the three levels of government combined for -15, while the not-for-profit sector, including charities, unions and churches, was -8.

Only the public sector - including healthcare, education and justice - had a net positive rating of +8.

Dr Pallant said the index would be updated regularly and would also be used as a benchmark to test the leadership performance of other institutions, including big banks, major companies, government departments, sporting bodies and regulators.