UK bosses 'must do better'

News just in: only one in 12 UK firms can be described as 'very badly managed'. Is that good? Research by the Centre for Economic Performance rates the UK as rather average in terms of its management quality - far behind the US, where only one in 50 companies is described as such, yet miles ahead of Greece and India, where the scathing criticism applies to over 20% of firms.

Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

Us Brits actually sit level with France and - hang our heads in shame - Italy, a nation hardly renowned for driving and effective leadership.

The research lays the blame on the British tendency towards family firms, which are some of the most badly run operations, as well as lower levels of education for workers and managers compared to the US. Equally worrying, however, is a clear sense of delusion on the part of our bosses. Over 85% say their firm has better than average management. Most rate themselves as ‘well above average' - based on nothing to do with the company's performance or actual practices. The net result? While we may score far higher overall than poorly performing countries like India, the top 30% of Indian firms are actually better managed than the best UK ones.

Could we help solve the problem by selling off all our family firms to private-equity, which has been found to be the source of some of our best management? Perhaps. But given the recent furore over the industry's ever tightening grip, that probably wouldn't go down too well. Alternatively, our bosses could use such surveys as a cattle-prod to improvement, and save the self-praise until they've really got something to shout about.

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