HBS: Evidence-Based Management
Good to Great, or Just Good
Time and space are two structural and determinant variables of management wherein every manager should take into account for accomplishing optimal managerial outcomes. Above this point, in truth, they inappropriately apply some procedures of management in their companies, such as the benchmarking, an entrepreneurial performance comparison, or other practices based on partial inferences or suppositions, which barely work well due to their half-truths. In this sense, technique applications in firms should be centered on complete evidences for getting reliable effects. Already Saint Thomas of Aquino said, “I have to see to believe” on the mystery of the Eucharist. So that, employing deeper logic plus facts can become in an extremely important managerial tool, which senior managements should use it.
Although the benchmarking, which is a process to compare processes and performance metrics among enterprises, is a powerful cost-efficient tool, this is unable to be blindly applied to any organization. This is because each firm has different reality, organizational culture, philosophy, workforce, strategies, goals, competitive environments as well. This entire means that organizations have different physical temporal spaces for developing their activities. In this scenario, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton’s article entitled “Evidence-Based Management” explains the benchmarking is the most insecure technique to organizational health. As an illustration, they also refer, that United Airlines (UA) decided to compete with Southwest in the California market. For such, UA employed the benchmarking in order to provide the same services than Southwest. However, this mechanism-benchmarking- did not functioned owing to particular factors and realities in each of them because “one thing is only unique, the rest is imitation”.
On the other hand, evidence-based management (henceforth EBM) is an efficient technique, which can be learned through practice and experience. In the same way, EMB combine quantitative and qualitative evidences for its application, which does a technique more robustness. Even more so, EBM procedure can be strengthened through feedbacks, which becomes it in a continuous improvement process. For these reasons, EBD’s usage would have competitive advantages compared with other methods. However, according to a research conducted by Pfeffer and Sutton concludes, at least at medical firms, only use this technique around 15%.
Definitely, time and space play an important role in development of organizations. In this level, each manager has the responsibility to built management knowledge within his or her companies. With this in mind, induced works, such as Bruce Niendorf and Kristine Beck in their article “Good to Great, or Just Good,” point out that any manager should avoid results coming from induced works how found, for example, in Collins’ book, “Good to Good” in which used empirical evidences- mediocrity evidence, and statistical arguments based on the former. So that, there is no evidence that Collins’ findings can be generalized to other firms. Rather, evidenced-based management and logic analysis of the facts result being a suitable work system for being applied in our organizations. Hence, to put in practice sound procedures, such as EBM, to get “the right people on the bus” can be an extremely productive tool.