Qualifications don't make you a manager

Sep 01 2005 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Having formal management qualifications does not necessarily mean that an individual has effective management skills, according to a study into management training and development across six European Countries.

But despite this, organisations in the UK, in particular, are increasingly demanding these types of qualification when recruiting candidates into managerial positions.

This contradiction is one of the key findings in a six country comparative study by researchers at Brunel University and Birkbeck College.

In total, 700 HR and line managers took part in the study, comparing and contrasting practices of managerial learning and development.

" In terms of common areas, most firms recognised the importance of training and developing managers," said Dr Matias Ramirez of Brunel University, one of the co-authors of the study. "The key differences were in the approach to training."

German firms were found to give the highest priority to management development, with Norwegian and German firms relying almost wholly on in-house training to meet their management development needs.

Spanish and French firms, meanwhile, have formal career structures and training institutions but are less committed to developing managers over the long-term.

In contrast, UK and Danish firms value management development but relied to a far greater degree than other countries on external educational training and generalist skills.

"We found that in-house training was the most common type of management development methods used in all countries, while experience and in-house training were considered the most effective methods," Dr Ramirez said.

However, while Danish firms emerged as being particularly effective in combining in-house and external methods - including vocational training - UK HR managers said that formal qualifications were not necessarily seen as a mechanism for effective managerial skills.

"Unlike in Denmark, our research suggests that in the UK there is a mismatch between what is used and what is seen as most effective way of developing managers," Dr Ramirez continued.

"It appears that in the UK formal, non-job related qualifications may be acting as a screening mechanism rather than an effective means of improving managerial skills.

"This highlights the need for greater coordination between employers, providers of managerial qualification and policy makers."