Hi Esk0 , the stats are from The Iceberg of Ignorance by Yoshida in 1989 I have paper copy I’ve been unable to find online (let me know if you do).
It was based on Japanese manufacturing companies. He found that senior management was typically only aware of around 4% of front line problems. These were problems that restricted customers from doing business with the company.
The methodology has been disputed in that it’s very “anti exec” — in reality it’s impossible for any one individual whatever their pay grade to have the whole picture.
We are only aware of the problems close to us but are increasingly unaware of the problems further away from us in other jobs.
Certainly some work I’ve been doing over the past nine months seems to support this.