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National productivity

  • At national level, productivity improvement aims to get more goods and services out of the existing labour, indigenous and imported materials, and capital resources available
  • It enables a nation to enjoy greater prosperity via higher wages, a stronger currency and a better standard of living for all
  • It’s the best means available to fight price inflation, reduce unemployment, reduce unit costs, create wealth and look after the poor and needy
  • Hence, the most important economic issue facing any government is ‘how best to improve national productivity?’
  • Surprisingly, most government ministers don’t recognise this importance, much like most managers – they exhort the nation to ‘raise productivity levels’ and ‘close productivity gaps’, but where’s the beef behind their words



  • Some countries do take productivity seriously, however – they actively support ‘Productivity Commissions’ (Australia, New Zealand) or ‘Productivity Centres’ (Japan – JPC, USA – APQC), employ senior business and Trade Union representatives and study major productivity issues
  • National productivity is not even measured well – the focus is on labour productivity alone, errors are rife, accuracy is debatable, sector breakdowns are ignored
  • We’re not after perspiration but imagination – not more but smarter working


National productivity plans

All nations need some form of productivity plan which outlines the broad thrusts their government intends to make to improve the well-being of the maximum number of its citizens – but most do not have such a plan, and the few that do don’t let their citizens know much about it Cynics ask ‘why bother?’ …

National productivity measures

There are three measures of national productivity on offer from the UK’s ONS (Office for National Statistics):   National productivity measures Output per hour worked – the most popular measure: Reflects the international differences in hours worked, holiday entitlements and the flexibility of the labour market including part-time and other alternative work patterns More relevant …

National action

As with organisations, there are many options for change and improvement open to all nations, even when there’s a  financial crisis whirling around them Some of those options are better/ more effective than others And different nations are at different stages of development which means some options must be considered before others – this also determines …

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