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Sector level analysis of management development: the case of Scottish local authorities

Gibb, S. and Knox, L. (2001) Sector level analysis of management development: the case of Scottish local authorities. Journal of Management Development, 20 (8). pp. 714-730. ISSN 0262-1711

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Studies of management development (MD) can be pursued at company, sector or national levels. "Sector" studies of MD are quite rare, despite providing a potential natural "laboratory" in which a variety of approaches to MD can be studied. The research here was concerned with MD in local authorities (LAs). It is based on a survey of MD policies, methods and practices in Scottish LAs, supplemented by case studies of five LAs. The analysis of this particular sector demonstrates a variety of approaches to planning for and providing MD. These are discussed with reference to a typology of MD "rationales". The broader issues of the usefulness of, and problems with, sector studies of this kind are considered. They do offer a potential "natural laboratory" for comparative analysis, useful for exploring theories about MD; but there are practical difficulties with combining the survey and case study analysis involved.