University of Leicester eBulletin

ILO Report Shows Ways to Improvements in Productivity and More Meaningful Employment for Employees

May 2002
No 113

A new ILO report entitled Supporting Workplace Learning for High Performance Working has been published. Prepared for the ILO programme on Skills, Knowledge and Employability the book has been written by Professor David Ashton and Johnny Sung of the Centre for Labour Market Studies at the University of Leicester.

High performance working practices (HPWP) consist of new ways of organising work, rewarding performance and involving employees in the decision-making process in the workplace. The report demonstrates how organisations using HPW practices achieve both improvements in productivity and provide more meaningful employment for employees. It examines the incidence and effectiveness of HPWP in a range of countries in Asia, Europe and North America, with additional cases from South Africa, Barbados and Bahrain.

The ILO report explains what these HPW organisations are, where they are and what they can achieve, and demonstrates how workplace learning is essential to their success. Finally, it shows how public policy can be used to encourage employers to implement them.

David Ashton and Johnny Sung argue that HPW:

Professor Ashton argues that in the UK:

"HPW techniques are a more effective method of raising the skill levels of the labour force than conventional supply side measures such as publicly financed training courses. But the government is failing to keep pace with our international competitors in supporting the spread of these high performance working practices, and many British managers are unaware of the potential or wary of the challenge they present."

ILO-London, 21-24 Millbank , London SW1P 4QP
Tel: 020 7828 6401
Contacts: Nick Evans (Ext 204) or Ligia Teixeira (Ext 201)

Notes for Editors:

The ILO is the specialised UN agency concerned with work and employment issues, with headquarters in Geneva.

Supporting High Performance Working (ISBN 92-2-112801-6) by David N Ashton and Johnny Sung is published by ILO-London. It is available from ILO-London, Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London SW1P 4QP. Telephone 020 7828 6401, email: The published price is 12.95 + 10% postage and packing. Website:

For further information contact Nick Evans on 020 7828 6401 Ext 203, or Ligia Teixeira on 020 7828 6401, Ext 201.

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