The purpose of this study has been to arrive at an authoritative and nuanced assessment of the functioning and quality of Portuguese institutions through an intensive analysis of organizations and agencies deemed emblematic of the nation’s Institutional framework. The organizations included in this study are: the Energy Corporation (Energias de Portugal – EDP), the Food and Economic Security Authority (Autoridade de Segurança Alimentar e Económica – ASAE), the Postal System (Correios de Portugal – CTT), the Public Health System (Serviço Nacional de Saúde – SNS; Hospital de Santa Maria), and the Stock Exchange (New York Stock Exchange – Euronext Lisbon - LSE), and the Tax Authority (Autoridade Tributária – AT).
Surveys were conducted with personnel of the selected organizations to gauge their general value orientations as well as their attitudes toward the organization itself. Questionnaires were answered anonymously and with full guarantees of confidentiality. Surveys were completed with personnel of five of the six institutions selected for the project; the Tax Authority did not participate. Once authorization was obtained, project staff proceeded to mail or e-mail questionnaires to personnel at all levels of the institution – from senior management to line workers. The introductory statement made clear that replies to the questionnaire would be entirely anonymous since neither names nor any other identifying information was requested. Anonymity was absolutely necessary in order to obtain valid answers to questions asking respondents to evaluate the organization in which they are currently employed over a range of dimensions, as well as provide self-evaluations on a number of personal value orientations.
Response rates varied from an almost perfect 96 percent for EDP and a high 87 percent for ASAE to approximately half of the contacted personnel in the Stock Exchange and the Postal System to just 3.4 percent in the Santa Maria Hospital. These differences must be taken into account in any analysis. With the exception of the first two institutions, surveys in the remaining three cannot be considered statistically representative since participation was not determined by project personnel but by the respondents themselves. Despite this serious limitation, the absolute size of samples – including those obtained in CTT-Correios and the Santa Maria Hospital – represents valuable information since returned questionnaires give us a glimpse into the attitudes and value orientations of a sizable component of their respective personnel.