D-WMS: Methodology

The original World Management Survey (WMS) project pioneered the methodology of measuring management in manufacturing firms using an interview-based survey tool that evaluates a range of day-to-day management practices on a set scale. The tool has also been adapted to education and healthcare sectors. As part of the core research team of the WMS, we have worked to significantly expand the original data collection project and systematically measure management practices within and across countries since 2008.

As the dataset grew we noticed that when we applied the tool to schools and hospitals in developing countries, the distribution of management was very tight and sometimes truncated at the lowest score. We were clearly missing important variation at the substantial left tail of the distribution.

We created the Development WMS to allow us to more finely capture the practices used in these establishments. The survey is fully backwards comparable to the WMS. For a thorough description of the new tool check out the working paper here, but we provide a summary of the key differences between the two surveys below.


Break down type of activities within management practices

We identified three activities within each management practice in the WMS that could not be extricated ex-post from a score in the original methodology: implementation, usage, and monitoring.


Map and independently measure different activity types

We expanded the survey “vertically” by disentangling and mapping an activity type to each question of the survey’s management practices. With this we reduce measurement error and greatly increase the amount of codified information. Policy-wise we can now pin-point the bottlenecks and where policy could be most effective.


Capture key variation in strength of practices and activities

We expanded the survey “horizontally” to allow for greater variation of scores and allow interviewers to differentiate at a finer level between the strength of activities in places. This way we “un-bunch” some of the crucial lower-tail variation prevalent in the distribution of scores in developing countries.