Article | Academy of Management Perspectives | February 2012

Management Practices across Firms and Countries

by Nicholas Bloom, Christos Genakos, Raffaella Sadun and John Van Reenen


For the last decade we have been using double-blind survey techniques and randomized sampling to construct management data on over 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 more poorly 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 heterogeneity in the spread of performance in these sectors. One factor linked to this variation is ownership. Government, family, and founder owned firms are usually poorly managed, while multinational, dispersed shareholder, and private-equity owned firms are typically well managed. 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.

Keywords: Management Practices and Processes; Competency and Skills; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Organizations; Developing Countries and Economies; Economic Sectors; Performance; Business and Shareholder Relations; Private Equity; Multinational Firms and Management; United States; Germany; Japan; China; India;


Bloom, Nicholas, Christos Genakos, Raffaella Sadun, and John Van Reenen. "Management Practices across Firms and Countries." Academy of Management Perspectives 26, no. 1 (February 2012): 12–33.