The HR profession has welcomed the DTI's decision to employ US management guru Michael Porter to carry out a study into the effect of poor management on productivity.
Announcing the initiative, Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt said poor management of people was one of the reasons the UK's productivity lagged behind that of competitors such as the US and France.
Porter will review and collate existing research before presenting his conclusions in January.
The CIPD's chief economist John Philpott believes the Porter study will assist HR's attempts to embed progressive management practices within organisations.
He said CIPD research has already identified management practices linked to increased productivity as being centred on job design, continuous appraisal, ongoing learning, the use of autonomous team working and performance-related pay.
However, only one in five organisations combine these practices effectively. "If Porter can identify the precise roots of this large scale management failure to apply winning ways - and how it might be addressed - his contribution could prove extremely productive," said Philpott.
Peter Radcliffe, HR director at Interbrew, supports the DTI's decision to employ Porter, but with a proviso. "I would hope the research would focus on real situations and real results," he said.
"At Interbrew, we believe there is a direct link between leadership and productivity," he said.
The study will be used by the government-backed Advanced Institute for Management (AIM), set up to identify and promote effective management in the UK.
Professor Anne Huff, who is co-ordinating the research, said Porter's investigation will play a key role in creating a clear picture of management practices that are vital in driving productivity.
She expects AIM to publish its first conclusions in six months to a year's time.
By Ben willmott