NZIM’s Year of Ground-Breaking Research Initiatives

The New Zealand Institute of Man-agement’s vision that “New Zealand managers are world class by 2008” could be regarded as pipe dream if it wasn’t for the excellent tool that NZIM immediate past president Doug Matheson constructed.
Late in 2002, the National Board of NZIM determined that it needed vision that provided an attainable ‘stretch’ for the organisation, and would represent real value to New Zealand.
It settled on the target that: “New Zealand managers are world class by 2008”.
When NZIM checked with its colleague management organisations around the world, it discovered that all were grappling with similar aspiration, but no tool existed that would allow international comparison. Undaunted, Doug Matheson set about constructing that tool.
The result is the NZIM Management Capability Index (MCI).
The draft MCI was distributed to management organisations in the USA, the UK, Australia, and throughout Asia. They responded favourably, saying that if New Zealand tested the index and found that it worked satisfactorily, their organisations would adopt it.
So, in short, NZIM now has measure by which to provide valid comparison of management capability anywhere in the world.
During August, 403 New Zealand managers responded to the index survey questionnaire. As reported in the November edition of Management, the resulting capability index showed that New Zealand managers rank themselves at 66.23 on scale of 100. At this point, it is not known how that compares internationally, but the trial proved the effectiveness of the approach and the index, and so NZIM will be distributing the methodology to its global partners for their use. By about 2006, it should have very clear idea of how realistic its 2008 vision is.
Again this year, NZIM collaborated with Francis Wevers to update and compile his Index of Human Resource Management. This survey has been conducted five times since 1994 and provides some valuable insights and understanding, not only of current management practice in New Zealand but also, of trends since 1994.
The survey, responded to this year by 500 managers, compares the actual management practices in their organisation with what they consider to be ideal practice. The NZIM/Wevers survey confirms the findings of the MCI survey, that current management practice is operating at about two-thirds the ideal.
Consider this quote from Geeks and Geezers by leadership guru Warren Bennis. “According to recent study of 3000 American companies by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, 10 percent of revenues spent on capital improvements boost productivity by 3.9 percent. similar investment in development of human capital pushes productivity up 8.5 percent.”
The challenge for all of us as we approach 2004 is to determine what more we need to do to convince the decision and policy makers across the nation that management development is an investment in our economy, not an expense.
One of the outcomes of the two NZIM initiatives and surveys is to ask the question; ‘what would be the result of such survey if we conducted it purely with chief executives and their direct reports?’
Fortunately, the NZIM/Wevers survey does just this. In 2003, 69 percent of respondents were either CEOs/MDs (35 percent), or reporting to that level (34 percent). In other words, 350 managers with the ability to determine the investment in management development are not connecting the potential increases in productivity from that investment with the need to invest more in management development.
NZIM national chief executive David Chapman’s scorecard report in the December 2002 issue of Management, referred to the United Kingdom’s Raising our Game report in which the British government established dedicated council whose specific purpose is to; “Ensure that the UK has the managers and leaders of the future to match the best in the world.”
One key finding from the council’s study suggested that (in the UK) there is significant mismatch between the need for management and leadership skills and their supply or availability. Is that also an issue for New Zealand?
As Chapman reported, there are many other aspects of the UK report that are relevant to the very similar aspiration NZIM has for New Zealand managers. The very significant difference, however, is that in Britain the government is driving the aspiration.
NZIM is collaborating closely with colleagues at the UK’s new Chartered Institute of Management to provide evidence to our government officials of the benefits of promoting investment in management development.
The UK report recommended that: “a new Strategic Body for management and leadership needs to be established… able to sustain our vision of the future where the UK has the talent which it needs to improve performance.” David Chapman suggested last year that NZIM sees the establishment of business-led Management Development and Advisory Council (MDAC) as this country’s equivalent to the UK Strategic Body.
MDAC now consists of senior business leaders from the private and public sector convened under the auspices of NZIM. Recently we have had productive meeting with officials on the future role of MDAC as they also grapple with the question of management capability in New Zealand organisations.
And now NZIM has just completed the field work for Business Trends Survey and the report looks at where business strengths and weaknesses are. The results of this survey will be released before Christmas.
Finally, NZIM will also publish report in December which looks at organisational effectiveness.
In summary, it has been very full year of NZIM-initiated research projects which have produced rich vein of information about what is happening with New Zealand managers. That research will, in future, underpin many new NZIM programmes and initiatives.


Nominations are required for three positions on the NZIM National Board.
The Board comprises seven elected directors. This year three directors will retire.

It should be noted that two of the retiring directors are from the South Island and under Rule 14.2 at least two directors must be resident in the North Island and at least two directors must be resident in the South Island.
This means two new directors must be resident in the South Island.

Nominations close at NZIM National Office, P O Box 67 Wellington at 5pm on 31 December 2003.
Nomination forms are available from your nearest division or from national office or can be downloaded from the website

David Chapman

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