Do middle managers matter?
Middle Managers (MM) are key figures for firm ability to gain and sustaining competitive advantage (CIT). Their training activity can be seen as an important tool for improving and upgrading managerial practices to sustain firm strategy that is strictly related with its competitive advantage. The present research aims at deepening the analysis undertaken within the literature branch concerned with the effects of training of middle managers on direct measures of firm performance as measured by profitability indices and productivity. In particular, the study focuses on middle management continuing vocational training in the Italian manufacturing sector in the time window 2006-2011. The study is based on a novel database containing balance sheet data together with exhaustive information about the training undertaken by managers working in the sample of companies available â€šÃ„Ã¶âˆšÃ‘âˆšÂ¨ provided by Fondirigenti. The study extends and deepens the existing literature based on two key aspects: (a) the possibility to disaggregate the training activity along two dimensions: the methodology used and the field in which the training is done; (b) the opportunity to use different more precise measures of training, namely the cost in euros and the time devoted to the activity. We empirically test, using regression models based on GMM estimation, a set of research hypotheses and we find support for the five following hypotheses: (H1) Middle management continuing vocational training has an effect on performance indicators namely ROI, ROE and TFP, Moreover the first two show a TMGT effect; MM training is more effective for: larger firms, older firms (H2 and H3); external resources are important in making MM training effective (H3); different methodologies of training have heterogeneous effects on performance: experiential methods are more effective than relational and front lesson methods (H5). We discuss the results and derive some policy conclusions
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