Evidence-based management in practice: opening up the decision process, decision-maker and context

A.L. Wright, R.F. Zammuto, P.W. Liesch, S. Middleton, Paul Charles Hibbert, J. Burke, V. Brazil

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    17 Citations (Scopus)


    Evidence-based management (EBM) has been subject to a number of persuasive critiques in recent years. Concerns have been raised that: EBM over-privileges rationality as a basis for decision-making; 'scientific' evidence is insufficient and incomplete as a basis for management practice; understanding of how EBM actually plays out in practice is limited; and, although ideas were originally taken from evidence-based medicine, individual-situated expertise has been forgotten in the transfer. To address these concerns, the authors adopted an approach of 'opening up' the decision process, the decision-maker and the context (Langley et al.). 'Opening up decision making: the view from the black stool', Organization Science, 6, pp. 260-279). The empirical investigation focuses on an EBM decision process involving an operations management problem in a hospital emergency department in Australia. Based on interview and archival research, it describes how an EBM decision process was enacted by a physician manager. It identifies the role of 'fit' between the decision-maker and the organizational context in enabling an evidence-based process and develops insights for EBM theory and practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)161-178
    JournalBritish Journal of Management
    Issue number1
    Early online date28 Sept 2015
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2016


    • Evidence-based management
    • Context
    • Healthcare management
    • Qualitative methods


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