Bain: Managers use less management tools and models

22 June 2013

Managers are increasingly making less use of management models and tools, concludes Bain & Company in the report 'Management Tools & Trends 2013'. Since 2006, the number of tools used has declined by more than 40%. Two reasons lie at the heart of the falling popularity. Companies now take a more thoughtful and strategic approach to tools instead of jumping on the latest tool fad and business are getting better in identifying and measuring the ROI of tools, with the result that tool portfolios have consolidated.

In 2004, managers globally used 16.2 tools of the 25 tools* presented by the global strategy consulting firm. By 2008 this had dropped to 11.6, mainly a consequence of cost reduction programs. In the latest survey the average tool usage fell further to 9.2 – the lowest number since Bain & Company started the ‘Management Tools & Trends’ research back in 1993.

Bain - Management Tools Usage

The results also highlights that management tools are significantly more popular in large companies compared to small companies. On average, managers at large organisations use a larger set of tools, according to the consultants due to the fact that larger operations requires a broader and complexer set of analysis and decision-making methods. Budgetary constraints and relevance for business are other important reasons.

Most popular tools?

The three most popular tools are 'Strategic Planning', 'Customer Relationship Management' (CRM) and 'Employee Engagement Surveys'.

* A summary of the 25 management models and tools presented to respondents:

Balanced Scorecard


Big Data Analytics

Business Process Reengineering

Change Management Programs

Complexity Reduction

Core Competencies

Customer Relationship Management

Customer Segmentation

Decision Rights Tools


Employee Engagement Surveys

Mergers and Acquisitions

Mission and Vision Statements

Open Innovation


Price Optimization Models

Satisfaction and Loyalty Management

Scenario and Contingency Planning

Social Media Programs

Strategic Alliances

Strategic Planning

Supply Chain Management

Total Quality Management

Zero-based Budgeting