What is evidence-based management approach?

I haven’t seen “evidence based” term be used in management until recently.  Before, I thought it was mainly used for field of medicine or criminology.  According to the article “Evidence based approach” by Jeffrey Pfeffer, Dr. David Sackett defines evidence based approach as “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.”

Evidencebased management approach is nearly the same as evidence based approach in medical perspective, which is an approach that embraces the scientific method, requiring evidence as one of the factor in its algorithm.  When the book talks about evidence, it means information, such as facts or data supporting or contradicting a claim, assumption or hypothesis.  I believe in the management perspective, internal business information and even their experience equals evidence.  This evidence combined with the approach helps corporate leaders use the information and diagnostic tools to apply those principles in the workplace.

Just like a doctor, managers look for ways to cure their organizational issues.  Just like how doctors examine patient and the new medication he or she will be taking, managers need to make sure the evidence is strong before implementing new changes.  The medication’s effect may vary in number of things, such as, size, age, form, and much more.  They also have to rely on survey and feedback as well.  Same applies to management, which is why most people prefer to either stick with the traditional method or follow other’s after they tried it out.

Here is where I think things starts to get a little interesting.  There are currently no established legal or cultural requirements regarding education or knowledge for an individual to become a manager.  Unlike the medical field, there isn’t a push for evidence based approach.  There is very little shared terminology, making it difficult for managers to hold meetings about evidence-based practices.  This is one of the reason why new managers believe that experience will stand as one of their biggest evidence when making a decision.  I believe that the adoption of evidence-based practices is likely kept within a specific organization, where experienced leaders take the initiative to build evidence culture within the management field.

I believe that unless a the evidence is severely general in nature, evidence based management is considered problematic, especially towards new managers.  But it’s good to start one, specific to your company, if funding is possible.  There are multiple ways to look at social problems and variables within the world of management are severely outlaid.  The book even talks about issues with collecting information by stating that surveys and data collected are not a real representation of the population.  For example, in management perspective, surveys from employee may be unrealistic if it involves just your company.  This is because your company is not only different from other’s, the way the manager may exercise his or her power within the organization may differ as well.

But I do believe that evidence based management concept is good.  We’re coming to a time where evidence based management will be properly implemented within the management field thanks to information systems.  I believe this is why companies are developing more and more technology to promote evidence based management.  Traditional methods and experiences are good, but evidence based management are better because it can diminish biased management.

As a current military member, I know that we have already implemented evidence based management.  We have multiple apps for mobile devices and internet database that we have been collecting for years.  At first, our database were considered as weak evidences, but have now grown big enough to be considered as real evidence.  We now have algorithms that generates recommendations for specific management into charts and flow diagrams which make evidence-based recommendations far easier to consume.

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