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All aboard? evidence-based management and the future of management scholarship

By Michael Barzelay and Fred Thompson


The research-practice gap has emerged as an acute problem in management scholars' internal professional debates. Evidence-based management (EBM) has been proposed as a remedy, and it is gaining adherents. This article offers a critical examination of the EBM proposal and its justification. The proposal is found to be poorly conceived and justified. Therefore, a search for a different response to the same concerns is in order. The direction of search is to understand how existing scholarly practices offer advice to actors in managerial roles. While advice-giving scholarly practices are diverse and disconnected, a commonality is that they define design issues and offer value- and knowledge-based argumentation schemes for resolving them. An alternative to EBM can be envisioned: to strengthen the management field's network of design-oriented approaches to advice-giving. By employing the unorthodox style of a dialogue, this article shows how common ground about EBM and its alternatives can be established among management scholars who identify with conflicting intellectual traditions

Topics: HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Publisher: Elsevier for the International Public Management Network
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1080/10967490903094087
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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