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DTI launches investigation of UK management skills


The Department of Trade and Industry has commissioned US management expert and Harvard University Professor Michael Porter to lead a major study of the effect of poor management on UK's productivity performance.

Several recent studies, including the DTI UK Productivity and Competitiveness Indicators, the Government's manufacturing strategy and work by Proudfoot Consulting and McKinsey, have suggested that weak management skills partly contribute to the UK's poor productivity performance in comparison with competitors.

The new study will review and collate existing studies of UK management practices and analyse the effect management practices have on productivity. It will play a key role in the new #17 million ESRC Advanced Institute for Management - a research initiative being directed by Professor Anne Huff.

Patricia Hewitt said: "Leading UK managers would agree with the growing body ofevidence that suggests we could benefit from sharpening up our management skills so that we can reach our full potential in terms of wealth creation and prosperity. Good managers want their companies to operate more successfully and this involves getting the most out of people, processes and equipment."

Recent evidence on management performance

- Around 4.5 million individuals in the UK have significant
management responsibilities (around 14% of the workforce), yet 36% of enterprises report that their managers are not proficient.

- The International Institute for Management Development puts the efficiency of UK business leaders behind most of our main competitors (Germany, USA, Canada, France) in terms of management efficiency, as measured by the availability of senior managers and their international experience.

- The 2001 and 2002 "competitiveness indicators" quotes research from the International Institute for Management Development into the perceptions of business leaders on the efficiency of management. The UK lags some way behind the USA, Germany, France and Canada. The Competitiveness Indicators quote other research (from the Skills Task Force) which says that UK mangers were inadequately
qualified, trained and developed compared to their international counterparts. The research also said that UK managers were lacking adaptability, entrepreneurial and technical skills compared with USA, German and Japanese counterparts.

The Porter study project is due to finish at the end of January 2003. Professor Porter will present the results of the research in early 2003.

Professor Porter leads the Harvard Business School's programmes for chief executive officers of billion
dollar and larger corporations, speaks widely on competitive strategy and international competitiveness to
business and government audiences throughout the world.

TrainingZONE asks: What's wrong with management training in the UK? Do we just not do enough? Or its this a peculiarly difficult environment to manage in?
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