By Marcus Leach

Shows such as The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den could be damaging to British businesses despite being loved by the viewing public — according to a new poll.

The survey, by officebroker.com, asked decision makers at 200 firms whether they believed the shows offered an accurate portrayal of the business world - with 75% stating that they didn’t.

More than half of the respondents (52%) said that they believed the shows served more as vehicles for creating celebrity business figures rather than educating the public on how to successfully develop their own enterprise.

A further 29% said they felt the shows were becoming more about those involved than the business concepts they were working on, with just one in five (19%) stating they believed the programmes still served as an informative guide of how to make it in business.

One business leader said he believed that whilst the shows still featured moments of business brilliance, those involved had become more interested in creating a media persona for themselves.

“The shows have had some great moments over the years but are increasingly being used as a vehicle for those involved to indulge their egomania,” he said.

Another said that heavy editing and unrealistic tasks were to blame for creating a warped perception of what being in business really entailed.

“Contestants are put in unnatural situations which would never happen in real life and it’s often hard to see who the best performers actually are because the footage is edited so heavily," the respondent said.

“The average job is not a series of challenging tasks, each judging you on different skills. Most people do pretty much the same thing every day, so programmes like The Apprentice lead young people to think work is constantly different, leaving them sadly disappointed with the truth.”

Another said they believed the shows encouraged short-term money-making rather than collaboration and long-term investment.

There was still some support for the popular shows amongst some business leaders who said that they still offered pearls of wisdom from some of Britain’s best business brains.

A spokesman from the site said it was a difficult task creating a show which remained both true to life and entertaining.

“People watch TV for a number of reasons, two of the most common being to remain informed and to be entertained and good business programmes should do both," he said.

“It seems like an eternity since The Apprentice popped on our screens six years ago and whilst viewing numbers have continued to rise, our survey has found many feel the standard of business acumen being shown has fallen.

“I think it’s fair to say that the likes of Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice have brought the idea of enterprise to the masses which can only be a good thing for the economy. However, it is important for viewers to understand that these shows are aimed at entertaining and should therefore be taken with a pinch of salt.”

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