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Management practices across firms and countries

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For the past decade we have been using double-blind survey techniques and randomized sampling to construct management data on more than 10,000 organizations across 20 countries. On average, we find that in manufacturing American, Japanese, and German firms are the best managed. Firms in developing countries, such as Brazil, China, and India, tend to be poorly managed. American retail firms and hospitals are also well managed by international standards, although American schools are worse managed than those in several other developed countries. We also find substantial variation in management practices across organizations in every country and every sector, mirroring the wide spread of productivity and profitability within industries. One factor linked to this variation is ownership. Government and founder-owned firms are usually poorly managed, while multinational, dispersed shareholder, and private-equity-owned firms are typically well managed. Family-owned firms are badly managed if run by family members compared with similar family-owned firms run by external CEOs. Stronger product market competition and higher worker skills are associated with better management practices. Less regulated labor markets are associated with improvements in incentive management practices such as performance-based promotion.

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