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Prof. Dr Willem Mastenbroek
Prof. Dr E. van de Bunt
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Editorial Staff

Evidence Based Management
David Creelman

Stanford professor Jeffrey Pfeffer has a long history of writing important books. The Human Equation: Building Profits by Putting People First, which was first published in 1998, is still a must-read.  His latest book Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths And Total Nonsense: Profiting From Evidence-Based Management is co-authored by Bob Sutton and should change the way managers make decisions.

How do managers make decisions?  Normally, they make decisions based on their own opinions, ideologies, hopes and by copying what other companies are doing.  If a company adopts forced ranking then it may be because the CEO believes in a survival of the fittest ideology.  If they use psychological assessments it may be because the VP Staffing knows other organizations do it.  If a company uses incentives to drive performance it may be because the VP Manufacturing desperately hopes it will improve productivity.

Of course, this reflects what managers are paid to do—make decisions.  However, it should not be asking too much for managers to make informed decision based on evidence, not just on their opinion.

The most obvious example of bad decision making comes from mergers. Pfeffer notes that an estimated 70% of mergers are not successful.  Managers continue to be blind to this evidence.  They are simply not required to go through a decision making process that would make them confront the failure rate.  Pfeffer thinks it is time for the decision-making process to change.

In Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths And Total Nonsense Pfeffer examines the evidence for the effectiveness of various popular management ideas.  However, the goal is not simply to get companies to adopt or drop these specific practices, the goal is to demonstrate what an evidence-based approach is like.

What does evidence-based management look like?  It is a disciplined approach to decision making meetings where the team asks "What are the assumptions behind this?", "What evidence do we have that it will work?", and "What evidence do we have that things may go wrong?"

Let me highlight two aspects of that last sentence.  The first aspect is discipline.   Evidence-based management is not as easy as opinion-based management.   An organization committed to evidence-based management takes the time to approach decisions in a disciplined way.

The second aspect is an attitude of inquiry, not of advocacy.  In North America managers tend to come into a meeting with an opinion which they defend.  In contrast, managers with an attitude of inquiry would come into a meeting asking, "What are the options?", "What do we know?", and "What do we need to find out?"

When Purdy Crawford was CEO of IMASCO there was a heated argument as to whether loss-leader items led to greater sales.  As CEO he could have made the decision based on his own opinion but that's not what happened.  Crawford said, "Let's not argue, let's find out."  They proceeded to do an experiment to see if shoppers buying sale items also bought enough other items to justify the sale. (They didn’t).  This is a great example of the attitude of inquiry.

A company that embraces evidence-based management sees their company as a laboratory.  Crawford ran an experiment to answer a specific question.  Many businesses could do the same.  Wherever there are multiple units—multiple stores, warehouses, production lines or branches—the company can run experiments to find out what works.  This simple idea, "the company as a laboratory" is powerful one.

How do we get our companies to adopt evidence based management?  It would be nice to think business schools were training young managers to think this way, but that doesn't seem to be the case. The case-study method positively teaches students not to enter the classroom in the spirit of inquiry, but instead to overpower their peers with a strong opinion.

However, every leader has the opportunity to encourage an evidence-based approach in their own realm.  They can set an example of asking the right questions, insisting their people do background research and approaching the world with the question "Let's find out."

Dr. Pfeffer's book, Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths And Total Nonsense will be published in March 2006 and can be pre-ordered now from David Creelman is CEO of Creelman Research providing writing, research and commentary on human capital management.  He works with a variety of academics, think tanks, consultancies and HR vendors in the US, Japan, Canada and China.

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Number of responses: 5

By:Julio García del Junco
Responses:Spain, Seville to June 13, 2006.

Dear Mr.

We are astonished for the treatment that they are devoting oneself to him Pfeffer's works and Sutton on the Based Administration in proof. There is investigators' group for in Europe that we are working on the Administration Based in the proof from the year 1999.

I attach you like example the first jobs once 2000, 2001 were divulged by us in the years internationally, and 2002:

1) “Teaching of Business Administration Trough Evidence Based Management” Academy of Management, Toronto 2000;

2) “Cased Method and Evidence – Based Administration ( EBMa ), Meeting Point University Teaching Innovation” in Complex Demands on Teaching Require Innovation, Edited by Hans E. Klein ( 2000 ), OMNI PRESS, MADISON, Wisconsin United Status of America, pp ( 63-77 );

3) “Evidence Based Management (EBMa): To Tool for Self Managed Learning " in Higher Education. International Council for Innovation in Higher Education, ICIE Toronto, Canada ( 2001 );

4) Evidence-Based Administration and Case Method for Knowledge management”, in Creative Teaching, Edited by Hans E. Klein. OMNI PRESS, MADISON. Wisconsin, United States of America, pp (90-106).

These are only some examples to quote the first works, but I attach you a list of publications of other works of the same theme. Obviously we dare to indicate than the first investigators that transfer of specific way The Based medicine in the proof to Business Administration, are my team and I from Europe.

To the wait of his kind news and trusting that the recognition due to science be done to you have him under consideration the information that I provide him.

Thank you very much for everything,

Julio García del Junco
Professor of Business Administration
Administration Department of Companies and Marketing
Faculty of Cost-Reducing and Entrepreneurial Sciences (University of Seville)
Avda. Raymond and Cajal, 1.
41018 Seville
Tfno. (34) 954 553670- (34) 954 557575
Fax: (34) 954 556 989

¿Casualidad o plagio?
By:Julio García del Junco
Responses:Harvester > Bibliographic Record
Format: File ISBD Dublin Core RDF Onix Tagged Ibermarc XML-MARC Schema
Control number: DPD2006003729

Author: García del Junco, Julio

Title: Administración basada en la evidencia : una aplicación de la medicina basada en la evidencia al mundo empresarial y a la formación de directivos

Publication: 2004-01-01

Notes: [Spanish abstract]

Con vistas a tomar mejores decisiones, se propone un método útil para seleccionar y utilizar la gran cantidad de información disponible en las organizaciones, como resultado del desarrollo de las nuevas tecnologías de la información y la comunicación. La "administración basada en la evidencia" se origina en la práctica médica, en particular, en la llamada Medicina Basada en la Evidencia y se aplica en cuatro pasos: formulación de preguntas adecuadas, búsqueda selectiva de la evidencia, valoración crítica de la evidencia y aplicación de la evidencia. Constituye una herramienta para ayudar a las empresas a crear las estructuras propias de las organizaciones que aprenden y a la gestión del conocimiento, el recurso más valioso para las organizaciones en la nueva sociedad de la información y la economía digital.

[English abstract]

Aimed at improving decision making, an useful method to choose and use the great amount of information available in organizations as a result of new technologies of information and communication is proposed. Evidence based administration had it?s origin in medical practice paticularly in the so clled evidence based medicine and it is applied in four steps: formulation of adequate questions, selective search for evidence, critical appraisal of evidence, and evidence application. It is a useful tool to help enterprises to create suitable structures of learning orgnizations and also knowledge management, the most valuable tool for organizations in the new society of digital information and economy.

Matter / geographic: IJ. Reference work.
IK. Design, development, implementation and maintenance
DG. Private libraries.

Type of form: Journal Article (On-line/Unpaginated)

Other authors: Calvo de Mora Schmidt, Arturo
Lieberman, Kati

Origin: E-LIS: E-prints in Library and Information Science

Digital copy

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Julio García del Junco
¿Plagio o Casualidad?
By:Julio García delJUnco
Responses:soy Julio García del Junco, Catedrático de Organización de Emoresas de la Universidad de Sevilla, España. Además de ser el creador de La Administración Basada en la Evidencia, vengo trabajando en este tema desde el año 1999.

Alguién me puede responder si lo que está sucediendo es ¿casualidad o plagio?

Muchas gracias,

Julio García del Junco
By:nguyen thao
Responses:To what extent do managers use the external evidence to improve their organization?
If they fail to do so, why? and how do I make sure everything you write?
Hello again David
By:David Maister
Responses:So, there you are - contributing as always. I'm glad I have finally discovered where you are after missing your work for a while. This was a great review. How do I make sure I see everything you write?

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Readers' responses

Spain, Seville to June 13, 2006. Dear Mr. We are astonished for the treatment that they are devo...
Julio García del Junco
¿Casualidad o plagio?
Harvester > Bibliographic Record Format: File ISBD Dublin Core RDF Onix Tagged Ibermarc XML-MARC ...
Julio García del Junco
¿Plagio o Casualidad?
soy Julio García del Junco, Catedrático de Organización de Emoresas de la Universidad de Sevilla, Es...
Julio García delJUnco
To what extent do managers use the external evidence to improve their organization? If they fail to...
nguyen thao
Hello again David
So, there you are - contributing as always. I'm glad I have finally discovered where you are after m...
David Maister
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