Small Business Productivity – A Leading Question?

The UK has a long tail of lower productivity firms contributing to stagnant overall productivity growth. Interventions to support small firms, developed over the past 20 years, to improve management and leadership skills have the potential to address this. It is important to understand if such programmes are effective and if so, why. Good evaluation evidence is quite sparse. However, consensus has emerged that for small business the quality of leadership may matter at least as much as the introduction of specific formal management practices. Small business leaders learn to lead as much through networking and the sharing of tacit knowledge, as from formal teaching. Nevertheless, the opportunity costs of participating in leadership development programmes remains a significant constraint.