British managers are highly motivated, but believe that their efforts are going largely unnoticed by their bosses.
A two-year study by the Chartered Management Institute has found high degrees of cynicism among managers, who believe old boys' networks and an obstructive organisational culture often block their career progression.
Whereas a survey earlier this week by consultancy Right Management suggested that fewer than half of senior executives felt engaged or motivated by their work, the CMI poll argues that, by and large, British managers are proud of what they do and committed to performing to the best of their ability.
The issue they have instead is the nagging suspicion that all their hard work, more often than not, goes unrecognised, something that acts as another drag on their careers.
One in five managers was motivated by the prospect of gaining recognition from their boss.
A similar percentage was galvanised by the fear of not letting down colleagues, while 9 per cent simply wanted to do better than their rivals.
Nearly a quarter felt old boys' networks were stifling their career progression and more than a third blamed flat organisational structures.
With nearly half of those aged under 40 seeking "personal growth and development opportunities", it was no surprise that one-third of organisations admitted to losing staff because they offered limited career and promotion opportunities, said the CMI.
More than half were driven to perform by a determination to achieve goals and nearly a third was committed to helping others grow.
As a result of regular organisational change over the past 12 months, a fifth expressed a desire to demonstrate impact by "challenging existing business models".
In response, the institute has developed a new online diagnostic tool – cmgrdiagnostic.managers.org.uk – to help managers identify their leadership and change management skills.