January 18, 2019, by Charlotte Anscombe
Research will investigate how types of management affect productivity in UK businesses
Professor Paul Mizen from the School of Economics has been awarded £1.1million from the ESRC to look into the quality of management practices across UK businesses.
Professor Mizen is a co-researcher on the project along with Rebecca Riley from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR).
The aim of the research is improve the understanding of the causes and consequences of the variation in management practices across UK businesses and to draw practical lessons for improving productivity.
The project will support a second, targeted wave of the UK Management and Expectations Survey (MES) to enable identification of causal links between management, employee engagement and productivity, and particularly variations over time.
Professor Mizen said: “The MES arose from a partnership between the ONS and ESCoE (Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence) and is the largest ever survey of UK management capabilities, executed on a population of 25,000 firms across industries, regions, firm sizes and ages documenting the variable quality of management practices across UK businesses.
“Our analysis found a significant relationship between management practices and labour productivity amongst UK firms, and examined whether certain types of firms have poor management practices and stagnant productivity, drawing conclusions about the links between them. The initial MES offers a cross section of variation in management practices and expectations between firms, but it does not explore variations within businesses through time due to missing data. A second wave of the MES will expand our scope of analysis so that we can interpret how management practices in the UK have varied over time.”
Andy Haldane the Chair of the Industrial Strategy Group said: “Productivity is ultimately the key determinant of our living standards. And for central banks, productivity is of course an important factor in our assessment of the supply capacity of the economy, and therefore the setting of monetary policy. Given the poor performance of UK productivity over the past decade, it is vital for governments, central banks and academia to continue to improve our understanding of its drivers.”
This is one of five research grants which is being funded by the ESRC to investigate management practices.
Dr Annie Gibney, Portfolio lead at ESRC for Management & Business Studies and Transforming Working Lives said: “This is a very strong set of projects that address the key management practices and employee engagement challenges facing business owners, managers and workers. Not only are they examples of excellent academic research that work closely with firms, policy-makers and key stakeholders – but they also have a real opportunity to lead to meaningful change in business and policy practices.”