Erez Grant

Topics: Evidence-based medicine, Management, Evidence-based management Pages: 38 (11875 words) Published: October 28, 2014

Separating Data from Intuition:
Bringing Evidence into the Management Classroom

RUNNING HEAD: Teaching Evidence-Based Management

Amir Erez and Adam M. Grant

For helpful feedback, we thank Jean Bartunek, Ken Brown, and three anonymous reviewers. We are also grateful to Ute Hülsheger for sharing the article on findings from medicine.

Teaching Evidence-Based Management
Separating Data from Intuition: Bringing Evidence into the Management Classroom ABSTRACT
Evidence based management promises to improve managerial decision making and organizational outcomes. However, the principles cannot take root unless educators focus their attention on teaching evidence-based management in the classroom. To stimulate reflection and dialogue about effective practices, we describe our approaches to incorporating research findings into the classroom. We also share insights from ten scholars who teach from an evidence-based perspective. We conclude by discussing lessons that we have learned from our own students about how to successfully teach evidence based management.


Teaching Evidence-Based Management


When managers make decisions, they often rely heavily on personal experiences and popular practices (Abrahamson, 1996).While these types of experiences feel closer to real knowledge than data presented in journals, they are also open to many biases, fleeting fads, dogmas, and false beliefs (Pfeffer & Sutton, 2006). In her presidential address to the Academy of Management in 2005, Denise Rousseau called for improving organizational practices through Evidence Based Management (EBM). EBM involves harnessing systematic research and translating it into organizational practices (Rouseau, 2006). The aim is for practitioners to develop expertise and decision making styles that are based on the available scientific evidence (e.g., Barlow, 2004; DeAngelis, 2005; Lemieux- Charles & Champagne, 2004; Rousseau, 2006; Walshe & Rundall, 2001).

In the same address, however, Rousseau also communicated her great disappointment: “that research findings don’t appear to have transferred well to the workplace. Instead of a scientific understanding of human behavior and organizations, managers, including those with MBAs, continue to rely largely on personal experience, to the exclusion of more systematic knowledge. Alternatively, managers follow bad advice from business books or consultants based on weak evidence” (2006, p. 257). In the last decade, organizational scholars have undertaken significant efforts to understand why research findings are not transferred to the workplace (see Burke & Rau, 2010; Goodman & O’Brien, 2012; Latham, 2007; Latham & Stuart, 2007; Rousseau & McCarthy, 2007; Rynes Giluk, & Brown, 2007; Rynes, Colbert, & Brown, 2002; Trank & Rynes, 2003). One theme that emerges from these studies is that EBM is not a central focus of many management education programs (Trank & Rynes, 2003). The lack of EBM education can be partially attributed to the fact that many management educators are not trained as researchers and, as such, are not prepared to effectively deliver

Teaching Evidence-Based Management


evidence based management practices (e.g., Clinebell & Clinebell, 2008). However, even researchers often do not use the full extent of their scientific knowledge in the classroom. While we cannot speak with confidence to the many possible reasons, we suspect that there are at least three major reasons for this state of affairs. First, researchers may simply not know how to transfer research findings into the classroom. Second, researchers may believe that evidencebased research is too complex and difficult to explain to those who are not trained in research. Third, researchers may believe that research findings are too removed from practical experience and that as a result students may respond negatively to this type of teaching. Despite these challenges, we believe that evidence based knowledge can be...

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