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Social Research

Review of provision of management development and leadership

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  • Release date: 23 July 2004
The development of management and leadership skills in the economy has gained prominence across government.

This report, compiled by Cardiff Business School on behalf of ELWa, a former Assembly Sponsored Public Body (ASPB) whose functions are now part of the Department for Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills, aims to inform decision-makers on issues relating to the provision of management development and leadership training in Wales. Although the study was focused on identifying, collating and assessing quantitative data on the availability of training programmes, the research was also able to investigate some broader aspects of leadership development and related issues through a series of wide-ranging interviews with key stakeholders.

Lack of management skills in SMEs is one of the most common causes of the relatively high failure rates that continue to weaken the Welsh economy. However, the management skills required to successfully develop different sized companies, in different sectors, at different stages of their growth path is not well understood. For example, although certain generic managerial skills are often highlighted as ‘crucial’ to good management practice, it is the effective deployment of these skills within individual firms which makes the difference between success and failure. Ultimately, it is the way in which managerial skills are deployed to support the efficient use of resources within the organisation that decides whether senior managers and leaders can generate a sustained and successful growth path for their business.

Businesses that grow tend to possess good managers and/or visionary leaders. Business leadership requires particular skills, such as strategic and tactical decision making, together with team building expertise and other ‘people-centred’ skills that will help lead the company through the change process. Despite availability of exemplars of good management and leadership practice within Welsh firms, these competencies are currently felt to be in short supply.

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