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Journal article

Why do we undervalue competent management?

Business schools teach MBA students that you can't compete on the basis of management processes because they're easily copied. Operational effectiveness is table stakes in the competitive universe, according to the strategists. But data from a decade-long research project involving 12,000 firms challenges that thinking. The study examined how well companies performed 18 core management practices. It found vast differences in how they execute basic tasks like setting targets, running operations, and grooming talent, and that those differences matter: Firms with strong managerial processes do significantly better on high-level metrics such as profitability, growth, and productivity. What's more, the differences in process quality persist over time, suggesting that competent management is not easy to imitate. In this article the authors review the findings of the research and explore what prevents executives from investing in management capabilities, arguing that such investments are a powerful way to become more competitive.

Nicholas Bloom, Raffaella Sadun and John Van Reenen

1 September 2017

Harvard Business Review , pp.120-127, , September-October, 2017

This Journal article is published under the centre's Growth programme.

This publication comes under the following theme: Management practices and productivity