Saturday, August 18, 2007

August report -now from your Liaison to Practice, no longer "elect"

Let's continue this blogging experiment... The highlights in this report are:

- We have a "Practitioner Liaison Committee" for 2008 -volunteers, suggestions, etc. are still welcome!
- The EBMgmt Collaborative keeps making progress -please help us find sponsors and exemplars of "systematic reviews"

I am now writing this report for all members of the MED division in my capacity as the new "Liaison to Practice" (last year I was elected "Liaison to Practice Elect," a position that MED's constitution contemplates to "learn the ropes" so that the following year the incumbent may replicate or improve what was done previously). Well, as all MED members that attended either this or last year's MED business meeting know, not much has been done at MED to fulfill this role, partially because there are no funds earmarked to support its activities...

I guess that the first thing I thought of when I was elected was to organize a panel with executives, but my predecessor and I learned that we had no means to bring them to Philadelphia; in fact, according to AOM regulations, they would even have to pay their own registration (unless, I recently found out, we use the five complementary registrations that the annual conference organizers provide for each division). Still, when I have invited executives to academic conferences in the past, they have not had to pay their accommodations; either the event budget or a sponsor covers their expenses as a token of appreciation for their investment of time and effort. Quite frankly, it seems that I was not doing things in the most efficient manner, as our newly elected Liaison to Practice Elect, Joel Harmon, from Farleigh Dickinson University suggested after the business meeting in Philadelphia that there are ways to bring managers to the Academy without having sponsors secured. I am certainly thankful for his volunteering for this position, I believe that I will be the one learning from his experience, instead of the other way around!

In addition to Joel, V. Seshan (from Pepperdine U.) and Joy Beatty (from U of Michigan - Dearborn) have contacted me to volunteer for the Practitioner Liaison Committee. And, lastly (certainly not least!) Elena Antonacopoulou from the U of Liverpool (UK) has a similar position but at the Academy level and I am trying to coordinate with her so that our divisional efforts to coordinate with practitioners have a larger and more efficient impact. Gayle Porter (from Rutgers U.; she represented the Careers division before the EBM Collaborative in Pittsburgh) and Darlene Alexander-Houle (from the U of Phoenix and Hewlett-Packard) also expressed their interest in joining efforts, so... it looks like we are moving in the right direction! As I stated above, volunteers, suggestions, ideas are still quite welcome. I hope that we can create a most interesting program for the meeting in 2008, and maybe have an even larger impact in our future work...

Now, with respect to the Evidence-Based Management collaborative for which I originally titled this "blog," there is not much to report at this point. We are still looking for sponsors to help us cover the expense of bringing as many AOM division representatives as possible to the meetings of the Collaborative that are scheduled for January and June of 2008 (please contact me at your earliest convenience if you are have any leads to share) and there is a sub-committee that is currently looking for "systematic reviews" that would help us design a review format for the EBMgmt effort. If you have suggestions for the new review format, please contact David Denyer (I am not posting his email address to prevent spammers' "web-bots" from adding his email to the zillion lists that we all get so bothered about; if you cannot find his email in the Academy website or in his institutional page, please email me and I will gladly forward your message).

This is all for now! I look forward to your suggestions, ideas, and participation now and during our meeting in Anaheim for 2008. Best regards,


Thursday, August 2, 2007

A Report from your Liaison to Practice Elect

A Report from your Liaison to Practice Elect

On June 28-30, 2007, about thirty researchers from at least twenty-five universities in five countries met at Carnegie Mellon University, convened by former Academy of Management President, Denise Rousseau. Also present were former AOM Presidents, Jean Bartunek and Jone Pearce (for a more detailed, yet incomplete list of attendants, click here). The main purpose of this meeting was to form:

"...a community-of-practice to make evidence-informed management a reality. [Its] mission is to close the gap between management research and the ways practitioners make managerial and organizational decisions and educators teach organizational behavior, theory, strategy and human resources management. The Collaborative’s primary task is to design the architecture and support practices for on-line access to best evidence summarized in ways practitioners and educators can readily use" (source: CMU's webpage for the EBMgt conference).

Evidence-Based Management (EBMgt) is a concept that we can already find in a variety of well-respected sources. Essentially, EBMgt could be defined as executing management practice in a manner that is informed by the best available scientific evidence. A combination of a Harvard Business Review article (Pfeffer & Sutton, Evidence-based Management. Harvard Business Review, 84:1, January 2006), HBSP book and website by Jeff Pfeffer & Bob Sutton (Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths and Total Nonsense, 2006) is among the best-known sources. Our own Ben Arbaugh recently led a special section of AMLE reviewing the Hard Facts... book (Academy of Management Learning & Education, 6:1, March 2007). Rousseau & McCarthy also published an AMLE article (Educating Managers from an Evidence-Based Perspective. 6:1, March 2007, pp. 84-101), and Rousseau spoke about EBMgt during her AoM presidential address, later published as "Is There Such a Thing as 'Evidence-Based Management'?" (Academy of Management Review, 31:2, pp. 256-269, 2006). In short, influential voices from our colleagues have been insisting in the need to make the most robust research findings available to practitioners so that their decision process is better informed, as it has been occurring in Medicine, Education, Nursing, Library Science, Conservation, Government, Social Work, Software Engineering, and Criminology (at least!).

During those two-and-a-half working days (program details can be found here), attendants worked on understanding what "Evidence-Based Management" is. We heard presentations from managers that have been exposed to the concept of EBMgt and have been internalizing it in their practice. A representative from Wiley & Sons (the publisher) showed us what they have been doing for the "Cochrane collaboration," and the "Campbell collaboration;" two online evidence-based databases dedicated to document and make research findings available for practitioners in Medicine and Education, respectively.

Possibly the main result of this meeting has been the formation of a "core" group of academics that has invested considerable energy in learning about and possibly starting a "Management Collaboration" that might jump-start a variety of services geared toward making scientific research findings more readily available for practitioners. Of special interest is the fact that the above mentioned "collaborations" seem to be based around "Systematic Reviews" (akin to our "Literature reviews" but adding certain parameters that seem to be more or less accepted) and "Protocols" (a blueprint that spells out in some detail who and how will carry out a Systematic Review on a specific area).

Current plans include two more meetings in January and June of 2008. Your MED Liaison to Practice will gladly represent you again (unless the following meetings get out of hand in terms of their cost; this time I only had to drive less than two hours but my travel budget will be exceeded by the AoM meeting in Anaheim).

As a participant in this EBMgt Collaborative, I have been trying to find sponsors to fund expenses for the EBMgt meetings in 2008. Another objective of my participation is to organize "something" during the 2008 AoM Conference to provide the service for which I was elected last year. For both, please send me any suggestions that you might have by submitting a comment in the blog version of this document, via email, phone (+1-814-393-2641) or in person. Thanks in advance!!!