The all-party parliamentary group on management met on Tuesday evening to discuss the launch of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) report,
The Business Benefits of Management and Leadership Development.
The report, the largest ever in-depth study into the subject, shows that 43 per cent of managers consider their own line managers to be ineffective.
Speaking at the event David Willetts MP, minister of state for universities and science, challenged the problems the UK faces in comparison to other countries.
He said: “Our management capabilities do score lower than the USA, Germany and Japan, and this undoubtedly affects productivity. Our performance is explained by levels of access to higher education.”
Willetts argued that there is evidence that organisation leaders with degree-level qualifications have better management performance.
Unfortunately Britain falls behind other countries at employing those with degrees into management roles, with fewer managers educated to degree level than in the USA, Germany or Japan.
The minister also outlined the importance of experiential learning to go alongside academic training.
He said: “Sandwich courses provide practical experience. However, the number taking up these courses has fallen from nine to six per cent, leaving students without the practical experience they need.”
Also speaking at the session was Dr Richard McBain, head of the Postgraduate Post Experience Programme Area at Henley Business School. McBain highlighted the key findings from the study.
The report surveyed 4,500 managers, CEOs and HR directors to help individuals identify progress and Management and Leadership Development (MLD)-specific needs.
McBain said: “In high-performing organisations 80 per cent said their managers were effective, compared with 39 per cent in low-performing organisations.”
He said the report identified the cause of this as management engagement levels with colleagues. The high-performing businesses reported 83 per cent engagement, whilst low-performing organisations reported only 31 per cent.
McBain identified three key factors to making the most of Management and Leadership Development (MLD): the level of demonstrable commitment to MLD; the extent to which effective management HR practices are in place to support MLD; and the alignment between HR strategy and business strategy.
Gary Browning, chief executive of Penna plc, co-authors of the report, explained that in this current economic climate, management development should not face cuts because it is needed to stimulate growth.
He said: “This research makes managers and chief executives realise there may be reasons not to reduce spend. If you think about MLD impact on engagement, competence and approach to work, there are significant benefits.”
In order to solve employment and productivity problems, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) should be encouraged to raise their business performance levels.
Browning continued: “Growth and being globally competitive comes from smaller companies. However, the area where there is least amount of investment is in medium-sized organisations”.
“The returns are really quite significant if you develop the managers, appropriately, intelligently with planning and thought. If done correctly, this will develop Britain’s growth and competitiveness.”
An interview with CMI acting chief executive Christopher Kinsella can be viewed