What are the different management styles and can we study them? Do firms show certain preferences for different managerial skills when hiring employees? Understanding processes used by firms when hiring managers with difference management styles is a prerequisite for formulating policies to improve the efficiency of hiring the best manager for a firm.

During the first part of this project in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2016, the research team were investigating the background of middle managers in Africa  and whether exposure to a firm influences the hiring prospects of young aspiring entrepreneurs and managers in the city. In this second part of the project, the team are working with the same group of entrepreneurs to explore whether it is possible to measure their management traits. Alongside analysing the individual traits of the managers, the team will also be examining whether firms show any preferences towards hiring individuals who demonstrate specific traits over others. Through this follow-up experiment, the team will also be able to assess the long-term effects of exposure to different management practices on aspiring entrepreneurs and managers.

Key research questions:
•    What management styles exist among aspiring managers in low-income countries?
•    How different are firms in terms of their demand for management skills, and what determines the matching of management skills to firms?
•    What are the long-term impacts of direct experience in managing?


In 2016, the research team ran a large management internship programme in Addis Ababa in which they randomly placed approximately 800 aspiring entrepreneurs in successful firms, shadowing middle-managers, for a month at a time. In this follow-up experiment, the team are revisiting 95 percent of the participants from the 2016 project.

Analysing management styles
For this part of the project, the research team developed a number of recorded vignettes of management challenges and responses which were shown to the participants. The participants were then asked to roleplay, alongside actors, how they would respond to the different situations from a managerial perspective.

Examining firm preferences
In the next phase of the project, the filmed responses of the participants will be shown to firms and they will choose which individuals they would hire based on the managerial styles of the individuals. The team will then use the data collected to determine any employer preferences for different managerial styles.

Long-term effect of exposure to management practices
The project also collects long-term follow-up data on the management internship programme that was run in 2016 to assess the long-term effect of exposure to different management practices on aspiring entrepreneurs and managers.



We have finalised data collection and intend to publish results in the near future. 


Jan 2019 – March 2022


Map - red dot for ethiopia

Firms, Farms and Labour


Private Enterprise Development in Low Income Countries Logo