What is Evidence-Based Management?

Evidence-based management is the practice of making managerial and people-related decisions with the use of critical thinking and the best available evidence. Evidence-based practice has its origins in the field of medicine, but it has quickly spread to other disciplines like education, nursing, criminology and public policy.


Why do we need Evidence-based Management?

What about management? Are the choices that are taken everyday in the world of management any less important? Being organizational outcomes as profit, performance and reputation at stake, along with the engagement, satisfaction and health of the workforce, these decisions can make a huge difference in the life of a company.

However so many of these decisions are still based on ‘Uncle Barry’s advice’: a mix of biased personal opinions and experiences, ‘best practices’, and the advice of industry gurus.As Barends, Rousseau and Briner once wrote, “the bottom line of this process is often bad decisions, poor outcomes for the organization, along with a limited understanding of why things went wrong. As a result, billions of dollars are spent on management practices that are proven to be ineffective or even harmful to organizations, their members and their clients”.


What does an evidence-based practitioner do?

An evidence-based practitioner instead, knows how to find the ‘best available’ evidence and how to evaluate the this information.

Recently the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) published a positioning paper in collaboration with the Center for Evidence-Based Management, that describes the six steps that evidence-based practitioners follow:


 


What is critical appraisal?

If evidence-based management is about using the best available evidence for managerial decisions, critical appraisal has a central role in evaluating the quality, trustworthiness relevance of the evidence.

According to the Center for Evidence-Based Management (2014), this can be done by asking some basic questions.

  1. Where and how is the evidence gathered?
  2. Is it the best available evidence?
  3. Is there enough evidence to reach a conclusion?
  4. Are there reasons why the evidence could be biased in a particular direction?

What sources of evidence should be considered?

Following the principles of evidence-based practice, these are the four sources of evidence that should be considered before a major management decision:


© CIPD and Center for Evidence-Based Management, 2016


To base your decisions on evidence will make your management practice more effective and accountable, with great benefits for your organizations and yourself.


References

Barends,E., Rousseau, D.M., & Briener, R.B. (2014) Evidence-Based Management: The Basic Principles. Amsterdam: Center for Evidence-Based Management.

You can find the original paper here!

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