Alowing pets in the office improves staff wellbeing and productivity. A cultural diverse workforce improves the financial performance of organizations. If you want to make employees more productive you should empower them, reduce the number of managers, and introduce self-steering teams. And, of course, performance appraisals are bad for performance and kill innovation. There are many claims, assumptions and ‘truths’ in management. Most of these claims turn out to be wrong or at least overstated. So how can you know whether a claim is trustworthy?
A management intervention can be anything managers or leaders do to improve the effectivity of an employee, a team, a department, or an organisation. An intervention can be simple, like giving feedback to an individual employee, or complex, like changing the organizational culture of a large multinational corporation. An effect is the organizational outcome of an intervention. These outcomes can be ‘hard’ numbers such as the number of sales, staff turnover rates, employee satisfaction, or productivity levels, but can also be ‘soft’ elements such as trust among team members, attitudes towards senior managers, or the level of information sharing within a team.
A claim is something someone says that could be right, or could be wrong. Managers, consultants and leaders make lots of claims about the effect of interventions. So how can we tell which claims are right or wrong? To do this, you need to look at what supports a claim – the evidence.
When we say evidence, we mean information, facts or data supporting (or contradicting) a claim. Evidence may come from scientific research, but also from the local organization such as organizational data or company metrics. Even the professional experience of managers and employees can be an important source of evidence.
However, not all evidence is created equal. For example, the most trustworthy evidence on which holiday destination in Europe has the least chance of rain in August will obviously come from statistics on the average rainfall per month, not from the personal experience of a colleague who once visited a country that had nice wheather. The same is true for evidence in the domain of management. For this reason, evidence always needs to be critically appraised by asking questions such as: Where and how was the evidence gathered? Are there reasons why the evidence could be biased in a particular direction? If the evidence comes from scientific research, was a fair comparison used?
Three groups of guides
Many claims about the effects of management interventions are not trustworthy. Often this is because the evidence supporting the claim is not trustworthy.
The first (pink) group of guides are things you should watch out for when you hear or read a management claim.
The second (yellow) group of guides can help you determine what the evidence for that claim is.
The third (blue) group of guides can help you to assess the trustworthiness of the evidence.
Using the guides
We developed the Informed Management Choices (IMC) Key Concepts as the first step in a research project with the aim of helping people making better informed decisions in organizations. This website includes all of the IMC Key Concepts (guides). The IMC Key Concepts are the starting point for developing learning resources, such as this website.
The website can be used in different ways. For example, by finding examples of management claims in the media and – using the guides – thinking critically and discussing how trustworthy those claims are and what you would do. For each guide, we have provided links to examples and some additional learning resources.
Please contact us and share your experience using this website and any suggestions you have.
Who we are
We are an international group with decades of shared experience in health research, medicine, public health, design, education, communication and journalism. You can find out more about us here.
This website has been developed by the Centre for Informed Health Choices at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the Center for Evidence Based Management (CEBMa), InfoDesignLab, and the Epistemonikos Foundation
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