This study explored the problem of not knowing to what extent special event chief executive officers (CEOs) trust advisors. The dependent variable of perception served as the main driver within this study. The study was grounded in Altman and Taylor's (1973) Social Penetration theory, and Greenleaf's (1970) Servant Leadership theory. A 12 question survey was distributed to the 500 CEOs and leaders who belong to the Southeast region of the International Special Event Society (ISES).
A thorough analysis on the available literature, at the time of this study, has been conducted spanning the trusted advisor discipline across multiple industries. Ten research questions were posed within this study, corresponding to the 12 survey questions sent to special event CEOs and leaders. All questions were designed to tie back to the research problem and perception variable.
Of those who responded to the survey, a combined 74% indicated they understand the role of a trusted advisor, and was able to differentiate the advisor from a consultant. A combined 68% stated hiring an advisor would make the quality of the CEO improve, while 65% agreed with hiring an advisor. Yet, of those who were surveyed, a strong majority (81%) said they have never hired an advisor, although would be willing to. A premium was placed on the trusted advisor coming from a friend referral (40%) with confidentiality (65%) placed at a higher premium as a result of the advisement sessions. A somewhat strong percentage (65%) indicated future support for research on the trusted advisor topic. Based on the findings, special event CEOs do trust advisors and perceive them as valuable. Future research may explore a more quantitative view of the trusted advisement topic, along with an international perspective of the trusted advisor.
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