Understanding Evidence-Based Management
The concept of e evidence-based practice in the realm of management is a relatively new phenomenon compared to its use in the medical sector. Briner, Denyer, & Rousseau (2009) assert that although the idea of evidence-based practice is relatively new, the fundamental principles underlying it, those of using research to support management decisions are not new. The authors undertook a qualitative analysis of past research in an effort to provide an understanding of the evidence-based management. They extensively evaluated an article by Reay, Berta, and Kohn (2009), which sought to understand the extent of evidence regarding the effectiveness of evidence-based management.
Notably, evidence-based management is for practitioners and not for scholars. Only practitioners in the industry rather than scholars can practice evidence-based management (Briner et al., 2009). The reason is that it is based on system that implements ideas, analyses the performance levels following the implemented strategies, and then improves the process based on new information regarding the performance and the emergent challenges.
Evidence-based management is not characterized by a single inflexible methodic process. Instead, it comprises a variety of related practices (Reay, Berta, & Kohn, 2009; Mullen & Streiner, 2014). Practitioners must follow a variety of steps that allow the assessment of current practices and the development of strategies aimed at improving the human resource process. Accordingly, embracing evidence-based practice in human resource management would require practitioners to follow practices that lead to making recurring decisions supported be evidence from high-quality research (Rousseau & Barends, 2011).
Evidence-based practice also incorporates a variety of participants. Such include educators, practitioners, scholars, and consultants. They form the infrastructure require to target the fundamental knowledge and related resources required for successful implementation of evidence-based management (Wright et al., 2015; Briner et al., 2009). Practitioners in human resource must work together with scholars when pursuing evidence based HRM (van der Togt & Rasmussen, 2017). The underlying implication is that evidence based management must incorporate a variety of participants who bring their unique perspectives together to form a combined knowledge base that is solid and capable of enhancing the performance of an organization.
Evidence-based management requires the synthesis of information from numerous different sources. It is not prudent to rely on evidence from only single source or study (Huter & Schmidt, 2004). Practitioners need to pay attention to the collective body of knowledge and the information it provides (Briner, Denyer, & Rousseau, 2009). Accordingly, systematic reviews have become instrumental in synthesizing the broad variety of sources and providing reports on the list of findings of high quality evidence. The goal is usually to answer certain critical practice problem. Therefore, the evidence gathered and the research strategy adopted is guided by a question (Denyer & Tranfield, 2009). Such a question must be formulated properly to ensure it leads to proper searches of both published and unpublished sources of information. The outcome is that the systematic review of information focused on answering certain practice question is valid, rigorous, and reliable. Systematic reviews enable practitioners to gather results that are more valuable than the sum of the parts (Pawson, 2006; Noblit & Hare, 1988). Accordingly, they can develop solutions that are reliable and supported by evidence.
Overall, evidence-based practice involves four key elements. These include asking the right questions based on the problem emerging in practice, seeking the right evidence that can provide answers to the question, reviewing and synthesizing the evidence as described earlier to provide information that is more than just a sum of parts, and acting or developing strategies under the guidance of the evidence collected. All these elements lead to the development of a body of knowledge that can support decisions based on research.
Asking the right question required the development of a good question. Denyer & Tranfield (2009) developed the CIMO (context, intervention, mechanism, and outcomes) formula of developing questions. This system is based on the PICO method that is typically used in medical field. The question must seek to study the processes, relationships or the institutional settings of human resource management process (Boudreau, 2012).
The evidence used must be broad and extensive. It must be based on industry practice journals, published/unpublished research, and personal experiences, expertise. Accordingly, it is necessary to scour numerous databases to collect relevant evidence for further analysis.
The evidence must then be reviewed and synthesized to develop the underlying ideas. Relying on one paper or group of similar sources my lead to bias. It is therefore crucial to synthesize data from variety of sources while remaining within the confines of the research question (Noblit & Hare, 1988). Doing so leads to development of reliable and valid information that can guide decision-making.
Action must be based on the information gathered from the systematic review of literature. Practitioners adopting evidence-based management in human resource must act based on guidelines of the evidence gathered (Leung & Bartunek, 2012). Accordingly, evidence-based management required to consult evaluation of the action and results to determine ways of improving processes.