Management practices for high performance

Insight into organisational methods and the implementation of formal plans by business size and sector.


There was a wide variation in the use of written business plans (47%), written human resource plans (18%), monthly management accounts (84%), boards of directors who met regularly (46%), website for information (77%) and website for trading (29%).

High commitment

Similarly, there was considerable variation in the use of total quality management (37%), quality circles (18%), job rotation/multi-skilling (46%) and performance-related pay (49%). About a quarter of the respondents reported increased use of these practices, which are often linked to "high commitment" (if not high performance), since 2007.

Looking at different groups, by and large manufacturers and business services reported similar levels of uptake on the first set of practices, but manufacturers reported higher uptake on the second set. High-tech manufacturers reported higher uptake on most of them.

Uptake increased conspicuously with the size of business. The practices were more widespread with innovators, especially industry-level innovators; it seems that innovative activities of these businesses were generalised across a whole range of activities, assuming that self-reporting actually reflected uptake. Differences by turnover growth group weren’t pronounced, but like industry-level innovators, fast growers reported higher uptake in the previous three years.

Business plan boards

Looking at individual practices, written business plans were significantly more common in medium-sized businesses, fast growers, industry-level innovators, high-tech manufacturers and new (post 2000) businesses. But they were associated with lower levels of profit. Similar patterns applied to the use of boards of directors.