Employers must rethink managers’ development

Management training in the UK needs a radical shake-up, according to a
report from The Work Foundation.

The report, Can the UK learn to manage?, says the importance of UK business
schools and their main product – the MBA – are over-emphasised, and employers
need to look at other ways of improving the performance of managers instead.

The foundation said the key to improving skills and performance lies in a
broader and deeper approach to development, where managers learn the skills of
management in the context of delivering products and services, with on-the-job
learning being as important as other forms.

The report said undergraduate learning, on-the-job training and national
vocational qualifications are just as important as MBAs and business schools,
and this must be recognised if the UK is to crack its public and private sector
performance problems.

The study also reveals that the UK’s 4 million managers receive less
training than their counterparts in the US, Japan, Germany and France. They
have also spent less time in education.

It claims that the overall lack of management skills will hinder the
effectiveness of public sector reform and attempts to improve private sector

Andy Westwood, co-author of the report and head of public policy research at
The Work Foundation, says: "We have more managers than pretty much any
comparative country – some 4 million of them. But more does not mean better; in
fact for the UK it means more underqualified, more underprepared managers for
whatever the job in hand happens to be.

"We need to completely rethink how we prepare our managers and also
perhaps how we all too often reach for management as the solution to all of our
workplace problems."

By Quentin Reade


Modern management courses should tackle the following issues:

– Technical knowledge and awareness

– Ethical awareness and appreciation of the role of business in society

– Strategic awareness and appreciation of the role of business in society

– Diversity, gender and cultural awareness

– Critical awareness and political studies

– Management of people

– Entrepreneurship and innovation

Source: The Work Foundation

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