Feedback from the profession

Cautious welcome: what experts think of Porter’s involvement

Andy Houghton, head of management development for the Royal Bank of
Scotland, is optimistic the Porter study will produce research that employers
will be able to use.

The company is so convinced of the vital link between effective management
and productivity, it is carrying out its own research to help its managers
motivate staff.

"We have started building a model of employee engagement. This will
enable us to understand what it is about our employees that drives them to work
hard and the factors that reduce motivation," he said.

Bruce Warman, HR director at Vauxhall welcomes Porter’s study with
the proviso that it will not distract the DTI from dealing with other issues.

"There are improvements in management which need to be made, but this
study must not distract the DTI from tackling other issues which are damaging
the UK’s productivity.

"Other areas must also be addressed, such as the increasing bureaucracy
of labour laws, gold plating of legislation from Europe, increasing impact of
the taxation system on business and lack of focus in education which is
ignoring the need for more craft skills," he said.

Lynda Gratton, associate professor at London Business School, said:
"It is wise for the Government to take a detailed look at what is
happening in management.

"The UK and Europe lag behind the US in performance management,
management education and development."

Gratton believes HR must improve the way it measures human capital if it is
to have a significant role in driving forward management change.

"The human resource function has been woefully poor at collecting data.
Companies know more about their consumers than about their employees. CEOs
should be making decisions based on the same quality of data on their people
that they receive from their finance or marketing departments."

Linda Holbeche, director of research at Roffey Park, would like to
see the DTI invite employers and trade unions to a series of regional
consultations on any report produced by Porter and the Advanced Institute of
Management to look at ways of implementing recommendations.

"I am concerned that Porter will come up with a one-size-fits-all
solution that will not suit the challenges facing managers in different

Holbeche said many managers in the public sector are being prevented from
managing effectively because their priorities are centred on meeting tough
government targets.

Andy Westwood, head of policy research at the Work Foundation, said
Porter must produce a clear action plan for improving the standard of
management that is affordable, accessible and relevant.

"Porter’s study should spell out how the DTI can get alongside business
and provide a range of relevant vocational learning possibilities through its
associated agencies such as the Sector Skills Councils, the Small Business
Service and BusinessLink."

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