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Business Boost, the Cavendish Enterprise productivity improvement trial; using leading management practices with young businesses with fewer than 20 employees to improve productivity.
Last registered on February 08, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Business Boost, the Cavendish Enterprise productivity improvement trial; using leading management practices with young businesses with fewer than 20 employees to improve productivity.
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004111
Initial registration date
April 16, 2019
Last updated
February 08, 2021 11:54 AM EST
Location(s)
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Cavendish Enterprise
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2019-01-01
End date
2020-03-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The trial addresses the impact of leadership training on business productivity.
The businesses are 3 years old or less, and are employers but have fewer than 20 employees.
The intervention forms part of the UK government sponsored trials programme: Business Basics Fund. It is one of five full trials in the first round of programmes (others are proof of concept trials)
The trial will be completed in 12 months. The training will be completed in the first six months; the research will be completed and reported upon within 12 months.
The measures collected during this period are proxy measures for productivity.
Identifiers of treatment and control groups enable longer term tracking of direct measures of productivity.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Scott, Doug. 2021. "Business Boost, the Cavendish Enterprise productivity improvement trial; using leading management practices with young businesses with fewer than 20 employees to improve productivity.." AEA RCT Registry. February 08. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4111-4.0.
Former Citation
Scott, Doug. 2021. "Business Boost, the Cavendish Enterprise productivity improvement trial; using leading management practices with young businesses with fewer than 20 employees to improve productivity.." AEA RCT Registry. February 08. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4111/history/85254.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
A series of leadership training workshops are followed by one to one sessions to support implementation of plans
Intervention Start Date
2019-01-01
Intervention End Date
2019-06-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
An
A plan for the business (to improve productivity)
Action has been undertaken in accordance with the plan
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Baseline information on productivity and planning methods and activities will be collected at the start of the trial from the individual firms involved. After the treatment period is over, the firms will be surveyed to ascertain what the effects of the support received by the treatment group has been, by measuring changes to the baseline information. In addition to the survey, qualitative research (interviews) will be undertaken with the participants in the trial to gather more in-depth, granular information about the effectiveness of the intervention.

Using the chosen methodology the study will be able to evidence the benefits of the approach versus typical 1:1 business support, or no intervention.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
This is a relatively small trial so no formal pairing structure or stratification will be adopted. A simple random number based allocation to the treatment and control groups done in office by a computer has been adopted.
Randomization Unit
Firm
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
150 business owners per randomisation unit
Sample size: planned number of observations
150 business owners per randomisation unit
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
The trial will involve 450 firms in total. This will consist of a treatment group of 150 selected firms selected from the participants in a previous programme, with a further 150 firms from this group used as a control group. A second control group will be drawn at random from the general business population.

Given the assumptions (and assuming no attrition in survey response) the trial will be able to distinguish differences in proportions of around 0.15 (e.g. the difference between 0.4 and 0.55 of firms in each arm having any capability).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Criterion for statistical significance (probability level = 0.05) Power against alternative hypothesis (80%)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
July 31, 2019, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
March 31, 2020, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
447 (146 treated, 151 control, 150 comparison)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Yes
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
245
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
95 treatment, 75 control, 75 comparison
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
Abstract
● Overall, the findings provide evidence of widespread positive and statistically significant effects of the treatment on awareness of a number of growth and performance related management tools (e.g. critical task lists, business model canvas, lean business canvas, SWOT analysis). These effects prove robust across a range of different model specifications. Effects on the use of the tools are generally somewhat weaker. There is also evidence of increased adoption of various performance related business behaviours (e.g. formation of mission and vision statements, formal business planning).
● All of the businesses in the treated group reported positive outcomes in at least two of the four key areas in which support was provided. More than three quarters of these businesses (78%) reported positive outcomes in all four areas.
● The evaluation data provide good evidence that in most, but not all cases, the treatment received was causally significant to the outputs reported.
● The significance of these effects is striking due to two issues which arose during the conduct of the trial: partial take-up of the treatment and attrition in the follow-on survey.
Citation
Roper, S., Jibril, H., Scott, D., and Drummond, I., (2020) Evaluation of the Cavendish Enterprise Business Boost Project, ERC Research Report, December 2020, Warwick.
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS