Niklas Luhmann, one of the most influential sociologists of the 20th century and father of social systems theory, once stated that organizations are made of decisions (Luhmann 2000). He even went further and argued that every decision taken builds on past decisions which accumulate to an organization’s future. On a more practical level, making the right decision can be a matter of life and death in high risk environments such as aviation, medicine, or the military. In business, management and organizations, decision-making quality is a key determinant of good performance. We will take a look at the state of decision-making in the business sector and how Evidence-based Management can help managers, professionals and other stakeholders to improve decision-making quality.
In two sessions, we interviewed Eric Barends, the Managing Director of the Center for Evidence-Based Management (CEBMa). Eric is based in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and advises management teams and boards of companies and non-profit organizations on evidence-based management and development. In this first session Eric discusses the foundation of evidence-based management and its benefits in business.
High-quality decision-making matters. Evidence-based Management is an easy to apply approach that helps management practitioners to make better decisions. I got the chance to talk to Michael Vodianoi from ScienceforWork and Northmark Talent about the benefits of an Evidence-based Management approach in Human Resource practice. In our discussion Michael provides valuable insights about the principles underlying evidence-based HR, its practical benefits and how it can be applied in daily business.
The social sciences are, by design, intended to provide grounded, meaningful information and recommendations for various aspects of human life – from education, to criminal justice, to management, and many more. Yet for many years, social science research has yielded findings that are very limited in their relevance and applicability (Bornman, 2013). Small experimental studies and surveys, typically conducted on college students, cannot consistently tell us meaningful things about how people in the world-at-large think, behave, and feel. Furthermore, highly theoretical work that is conducted in a laboratory may not provide useful conclusions that extend to the office.
Recently, there has been a trend among top-performing companies to reinvent their performance management systems. Organizations are discarding the traditional practice of evaluation through a system of training, promotion, and reward to a nimble system that works in the present moment (Buckingham & Goodall, 2015). These new systems focus on assessing future performance or potential rather than a focus on the past. This blog post will describe the latest innovations in performance management and their viability.
A while ago, I was talking to a friend who had a background in physics and told him I’d just received an MSc (Master of Science) in Psychology. He smirked slightly and I asked what he was smiling about? “Well, it’s not really a science though, is it,” he replied.
One of the current “trends” in the science of management is examining employees’ resilience. Like “emotional intelligence” and “grit” before it, “resilience” has become a desirable and much-discussed quality that hiring managers seek and leaders work to increase (Leadbeater, Dodgen, & Solarz, 2005). This is not without reason – resilience has been found to predict long-term success in a variety of fields (Klohen, 1996).
Evidence-based management (also known as EBM or EMBgt) is a management approach that involves using multiple sources of scientific evidence and empirical results as a means of attaining knowledge (Barends, Rousseau, & Briner, 2014). To be an evidence-based manager is to use the scientific literature as a means of answering questions, inspiring strategy decisions, and forming long-term plans. Published academic research from the fields of psychology, behavioral economics, communications, and even sociology can help to inform the decisions of a well-informed evidence-based manager. An evidence-based manager carefully considers the body of evidence, evaluating research for its quality and relevance.