Prof Kevin Morrell
11 Feb 2017

Against Evidence-Based Management, for Management Learning


Evidence-based management has been widely advocated in management studies. It has great ambition: All manner of organizational problems are held to be amenable to an evidence-based approach. With such ambition, however, has come a certain narrowness that risks restricting our ability to understand the diversity of problems in management studies. Indeed, in the longer term, such narrowness may limit our capacity to engage with many real-life issues in organizations.

Having repeatedly heard the case for evidence-based management, we invite readers to weigh the case against. We also set out an alternative direction—one that promotes intellectual pluralism and flexibility, the value of multiple perspectives, openness, dialogue, and the questioning of basic assumptions. These considerations are the antithesis of an evidence-based approach, but central to a fully rounded management education 2007), including a Center for Evidence-based Management (CEBMa).

Evidence-based practice in management is re-cently defined as
making decisions through the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of the best available evidence from multiple sources by;

1. Asking: translating a practical issue or problem into an answerable question
2. Acquiring: systematically searching for and retrieving the evidence
3. Appraising: critically judging the trustwor-thiness and relevance of the evidence
4. Aggregating: weighing and pulling together the evidence
5. Applying: incorporating the evidence into the decision-making process
6. Assessing: evaluating the outcome of the decision taken
to increase the likelihood of a favorable out-come (Barends, Rousseau, & Briner, 2014; em-phases in original).

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