DTI calls in US guru to solve productivity gap

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

www.dti.gov.uk

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