Fewer than a third of staff at Queen's University, Belfast believe the most senior managers are giving effective leadership, it has emerged.
The revelation followed a damning internal survey of staff opinions which was leaked to the media.
Some 69% of the 3,616 staff employed at the university took part in the survey carried out this year.
Many appeared to have a low opinion of senior management - just 29% felt senior leaders provide effective leadership and 35% believed that they have a clear vision for the future of Queen's.
One of the most damning findings was that just 26% of staff felt their work was appreciated - that "good performance is recognised and appreciated at Queen's".
A spokeswoman for Queen's said management intend to work with staff to develop action plans in response to the results.
There has been friction at Queen's over the last number of years following budget cuts and the 'Size and Shape' review which merged some departments.
The survey also uncovered some positive areas, including that 89% of staff agreed that they found their work interesting, a percentage that rises to 93% for the arts, humanities and social sciences departments.
And it found that 87% took pride in the belief Queen's has high standing in Northern Ireland society.
The University and College Union (UCU) at Queen's described the report as "damning", and "a widespread crisis of confidence in senior management".
The UCU - which represents academics, researchers and academic-related staff - is now calling for an urgent meeting of the university's ruling Senate body to consider "immediate action to address this deepening crisis in university governance".
UCU president at Queen's, Dr Fabian Schuppert, said "they need to act - and act now".
"This is extremely worrying and it demands an immediate response," he said.
"Senate can't be found asleep at the wheel."
A spokeswoman for Queen's said: "The positive results highlight a number of key strengths, including staff respect, interesting work and a sense of personal accomplishment.
"The university is now working in partnership with staff in the development of action plans in response to the results.
"This process will enable staff to initiate change in those areas highlighted as challenges and to build on the strengths identified in the survey."