Monday, June 24, 2013

Teaching Evidence Based Management to Future Executives

Executive decision-making often rests on ambiguous information that is not easily defined. Other times it is a social affair where other managers argue their points until a group consensus is achieved. Unfortunately, the decision-making process doesn’t often rely on the facts. Helping college students use research to make decisions and solve organizational problems helps them round out their decision-making processes and keep their organizations aligned to changing market needs.
Successful management requires the ability to implement research into new profit generating methods. There has been observed difference between those who conduct research and those who implement it (Lewis, 2004). This disconnect causes companies to make poor decisions and fail to align their methods to the changing environment. When companies don’t align well their market capitalization begins to decline.
The key is to change management styles that are based on the unsubstantiated whims of decision-makers, unsupported connections between personal styles and success, and the social influence of needy stakeholders. When managers can use evidence and research to help them formulate their opinions they are more accurate in their decisions which can have a significant impact on success.
Brown & Duguid (2002) indicate that manager’s first step is to consult with other managers. Even though this may work in some cases it may lead to group think based upon past knowledge that is either outdated or anecdotal. A disastrous situation would occur if the blind lead the blind into false conclusions with a whole host of self-interested stakeholders. When these poor decisions are made a whole host of people suffer from shareholder to worker.
A study conducted by Charlier, et. al. (2012) reviewed 800 management courses from 333 programs to determine the usage of evidence based management techniques in MBA courses. They used available course literature such as the syllabus and other course descriptions and objectives to determine the level of scientific evidence incorporation into the class. All of the schools in the study offered full-time MBA programs.
Instructors with Ph.Ds are more likely to teach Evidence Based Management Techniques.
Instructors who published are more likely to include Evidence Based Management Techniques.
The use of Evidence Based Management also increased student grades.
Evidence Based Management was also more common in highly ranked programs.
The Use of Evidence Based Management was not correlated with research funding or a doctoral program.
Business Application:
Training students on evidence based management techniques help them incorporate the most recent research into their decision making. When these students become managers they will need to understand and incorporate the latest research within their organizations and decision-making processes in order to maintain competitiveness. It is through this adaptation of new research that organizations innovate and develop better practices.
College professors would do well to incorporate research into their classes in order to help students understand how to read and analyze the latest findings. There are many benefits that include keeping up on the literature for relevancy, updating programs, raising student performance, and the overall credibility of the college. The findings indicated that it doesn’t matter if a university is research oriented or not the benefits and usage of evidence management are the same.
Some assignments professors may consider is going to the library and finding a research article that relates to the topic at hand. They don’t need to understand the statistics and all the doctoral jargon but they do need to understand the issue and the results. The literature review will help them understand how a current issue is viewed and the results give them information on a potential solution to their problem. Such students would do well to discuss how these concepts would be applied to a particular problem which helps solidify it within their minds.
Brown, J. S., & Duguid, P. 2002. Local knowledge: Innovation in the networked age. Management Learning, 33 (4): 427–437.
Charlier, S., et. al. (2011). Teaching evidence-based management in mba programs: what evidence is there? Academy of Management Learning & Education, 10 (2).
Lewis, M. 2004. Moneyball: The art of winning an unfair game. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

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