The survey compiled of 1813 respondents across Asia, Australia, South Pacific, Europe, The Americas, and the Middle East and Africa.
50% of executives also believed setting strategy to be a significant challenge.
It can be speculated that changes in board structures may be the cause of these results. I have noted in previous blog posts about the changing board dynamic to one closer to a stewardship model. This has resulted in boards of directors being more involved in company strategy. To speak colloquially it may be a case of too many cooks. Conversely, results by Ingley and Walt which empirically examined the role of the board (between 2000-2005) found the opinion of most executives that the board was at least generally helpful or a strategic asset, and this opinion had greatly changed in their 5 year collection period. This paper can be found under citation: Ingley and Walt, 'The Evolution of Corporate Governance: power redistribution brings boards to life' (2007) 15(5) Corporate Governance: An International Review 780
This suggests that the lack of confidence in strategy may be a result of other factors. To speculate these could include: Increased awareness of competing interests in the company i.e. stakeholders; the impact of an unstable market after the recession; uncertain political environment; evolving media sources and increase in information technology; presence of emerging economies; EU significance in company law.
The first reason as to competing interests is evidenced in the survey results which saw 64% of respondents say they felt they had "too many competing priorities". Whilst 36% of respondents felt a frustration factor on management was having their decisions second guessed.