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Management skills need to be learned


New research from NEBS management suggests that businesses need to take training in management more seriously. The research also indicated that management skills have to be acquired, and are not innate.

The research was undertaken with a view to developing an understanding of organisational behaviour, training and development issues within SMEs. Elizabeth Chell and Paul Tracey based their findings on twenty-one case studies in the North East of England, focussing on the owner-manager - first-line manager relationships within small firms. The research revealed a common theme of reliance and, in some cases, a potentially dangerous over-reliance on first line personnel. Whilst reliance can be an important aspect of effective interrelating the consequences of such a person leaving an organisation can be severe.

The research suggested that this risk could be offset by offering 'apprenticeship' schemes for potential future first-line managers. This would involve more junior members of staff being given experience of the roles performed by the first-line-managers and allo them to gain training in the necessary skills. The system would facilitate a smooth transition, provide an incentive scheme to motivate junior staff, and prevent potential skills crisis by ensuring that the relevant skills are proliferated throughout the organisation.

Elizabeth Chell said: "What is clear from the research is the need for the development of training programmes to facilitate effective interrelations in small enterprises. One of the most critical findings was the adopted interrelating styles that consist of three dimensions: participative-non-participative, inclusive-non-inclusive and communicative-non-communicative. In addition a fourth dimension, autonomy also emerged from the cases. The need to develop these styles is paramount according to the research and the best way to achieve this is by providing workshops and training."

Sally Messenger, Chief Executive of NEBS Management said: "NEBS Management set-up the research committee a number of years ago to help develop management and leadership skills in different industry sectors. Our research committee brings together major representatives from industry and universities who monitor the research being undertaken. The research is commissioned to support the work carried out by SFEDI (Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative). Ultimately, this research contributes to our strategy to develop managers and leaders of the future to match the best in the world."

To request a full copy of the research please contact:
Annette Maylam, 02077380722, [email protected]


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