The study was carried out during 1979-1987 in three phases of investigation:
1. The design of a model to measure the level of management in Dutch horticulture under glass. As a result, recommendations
were made to improve the level of management.
2. The analysis of the relations between the various components of management and the economic results of the firm in terms
of yield level. About 50 per cent of the difference in results was due to differences in management.
3. Investigation in the area of appropriate levels of management which depend on the entrepreneur's objectives and the
structural characteristics of the firm. To complete the investigation, a research-based system for determining options for improving management was developed.
On the basis of the differences in economic results in Dutch glasshouse horticulture, the differences in management were
expected to be one of the main causes. In order to verify that hypothesis and to be able to make recommendations for better
management, a model was designed in the first phase to measure the level of management. In this model, all decisions were des
cribed and quantified by means of arbitrary scores. At the same time other factors of influence such as the modernity of the
firm as well as the entrepreneur's level of education were incorporated into the model.
The investigation during the first phase, of which the results are described in chapter 4, showed that the level of management was rather low and could be improved considerably. Policy-making, crop-planning and work planning scored very low Other factors of influence such as modernity of the firm and the entrepreneurs's level of education scored relatively high. On average, a total level of about 40 per cent of the theoretical maximum level of management was realised. Regression analysis showed that there was a clear relation between the level of man agement and the yield level.
In the second phase, the influences of the various manage ment aspects on the economic results of the firm were analysed by means of factor analysis. The results of this investigation, which are described in chapter 5, can be summarized as follows:
1. The more modern the business, in general the better the results. Broadly speaking, one can say that 1 per cent higher
modernity is related to a 1 per cent higher level of returns.
2. Young entrepreneurs with a good education level, working in a relatively big, modern business obtain good economic re
sults. It is the combination of factors which exerts a positive influence on the level of returns.
3. A third origin of the differences was found in the use of recorded labour data in the executive phase of production. It is absolutely essential to compare the estimates with the recorded data. If this comparison is not made the positive
Influence on the level of returns disappears almost completely.
4. Worker participation in long-term decisions and crop-plan ning decisions influences the level of returns. Worker par
ticipation at the executive level of production influences labour productivity in particular.
5. Tension on the part of the entrepreneur shows little connection with the quality of management and does not influence
the economic results of the firm.
6. The entrepreneur's relatively one-sided attention to one or several management aspects was often found in businesses
with economic objectives and was relatively often concentrated on the modernity of the firm and the technical level of
the means of production.
7. A harmonious structure of management instruments was often found in businesses with a social objective. The entrepre
neur not only pays attention to the economic and technical aspects of the management of the business, but also considers more social aspects.
In the third phase (chapter 6), an investigation was made to establish an appropriate level of management for individual entrepreneurs. The entrepreneur's objectives in glasshouse horticulture substantially influence the level of management. In this investigation, the term "fitting" is applied with respect to the levels of management appropriate to the context. The fitting level of management depends among other things on the degree of ambition of the entrepeneur's objective.
The term "fitting" actually indicates that the right form or size of the level of management, generally speaking, cannot be fixed uniformly and a priori, but depends on certain influences of which the entrepreneur's objectives and structural characteristics of the firm are the most important.
For the purpose of the investigation the entrepreneur's objective was formulated in terms of the level of returns and earning capacity. In general, a relatively high economic result corresponds with a relatively high level of management. More or less apart from the objectives, the financing and the costs of outside capital may require a certain level of earning capacity and a corresponding level of management.
The influence of the structural characteristics of the firm on the different components of management was also taken into consideration. It proved possible to determine the appropriate levels of decision- making processes (pollcy-making, crop-planning and operational decisions) and other factors that can Influence management, such as modernity of the firm and the entrepeneur's level of education.
It turned out that the suitable or appropriate level of management of big firms Is in general higher than for small firms. Another conclusion was that firms that have only family labour at their disposal have a suitable level that is lower than firms in which also hired labour is involved. Furthermore, it appeared that firms that are expanding have a higher suitable level of management than firms with a stable size.
The study ends by giving directives for practical applications (chapter 7). For that purpose, it is necessary to compare the real level of management with the appropriate level specified by the management model. From this comparison, a gap might appear for each component of management between the actual and the appropriate level. Management advice can be derived from the model, offering the possibility of reducing the shortcoming with regard to the different productions characteristics. According to the study, it is advisable to call in the extension service to carry out the comparison and give the resultant advice.