IFC Supervisory Skills Training Evaluation in Cambodia’s Garment Industry

In June 2008, IFC partnered with ideas42 at Harvard University on a year-long, randomized experimental-impact evaluation to measure the effects of a Cambodia supervisory skills training (SST) program for garment factory supervisors. The report discusses the results of the evaluation, and concludes with recommendations for future SST delivery.

The purpose of this evaluation was to investigate whether the training program achieved its objectives of (1) improving working relationships between garment supervisors and workers, and (2) improving productivity. The study also evaluated how the impact of the training might have been greater if both direct and also indirect supervisors were trained—direct supervisors oversee a line of workers directly, whereas indirect supervisors oversee several direct supervisors and do not directly manage workers.

The study showed that the training improved workers’ perceptions of relationships with their supervisors and led to moderate improvements in overall firm productivity. However, these results varied depending on the management level of the supervisor trained.

To improve the “soft” dimensions of the work environment, such as job satisfaction and day-to-day management, training direct supervisors mattered most. In contrast, for “hard” dimensions, such as improved production timelines and communication about deadlines and target outputs, training the indirect supervisor mattered most. Overall, we can infer that the supervisory skills training program made a meaningful impact on working conditions and on business results in the Cambodian garment factories.

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