Archives for June 2011

Improving the transparency of management research

Tweet The last three posts have described the susceptibility of management research to distortion – confusing correlation for causality, suffering from historians’ fallacies and disregarding inherent bias in the data collected. This susceptibility suggests that the posited conclusions of any management research should be treated with an extra dose of scepticism (over and above the normal levels of scepticism required to maintain the focus on refutation that defines the scientific method) especially by the channels that communicate these conclusions to the managerial classes. But this sceptical perspective appears to be missing. The term management ‘science’ is a bit misleading as… Read more

The ethical dilemma FIFA’s sponsors still face

Tweet As I was re-reading the April 2011 ‘Failure Edition’ of HBR on the train back to London a couple of days ago, drugs the article by Max Bazerman and Ann Tenbrunsel on Ethical Breakdowns struck me as particularly relevant for FIFA’s sponsors – Coca-Cola, canada cheap Adidas, health Emirates, Sony, Hyundai/Kia and Visa among others – in the light of the bribery scandal that has engulfed that organization. Bazerman and Tenbrunsel outline five reasons why ethical people allow unethical behavior to thrive.  These include two of relevance to the FIFA situation – a tendency to overlook the unethical behavior… Read more

Conferring causality on correlation

Tweet My post Cod-Science masquerading as the real thing? argued that the frequency with which management fads appear reflects the tendency of management research to veer towards pseudo-science. In it I also hypothesized that this was due to demand, supply and dissemination factors, all of which were linked– the demand for scientific rigour by management practitioners is low, therefore it is not prized by the channels of dissemination and so adherence by authors is low. Following on from that, this is the first of three articles describing why greater scepticism is required when reading confident assertions such as “my research… Read more

Are tougher rules on disclosure required in management science?

Tweet In January 2010, the American Economic Association (AEA) agreed to establish a committee “to consider the Association’s existing disclosure and other ethical standards and potential extensions to those standards.”  The move was sparked by two things.  Firstly a study by Jerry Epstein and Jessica Carrick-Hagenberth had shown that economists who speak on financial regulatory matters do not always reveal their ties to financial companies; and the authors had sent a petition, signed by over 300 economists, to the President of the AEA urging the establishment of such a review.  In addition, Charles Ferguson’s new film Inside Job had brought to more public attention the issue… Read more

The Power of Passion

Tweet “Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.” Georg Hegel Last week I spoke at an event for Information Technology Management for Business (ITMB) students and the subject of my talk was how they could find their Passion (professionally speaking). By their Passion I meant work that they would feel gave their professional life meaning – work that would energize, enthuse and inspire them to both great efforts and great achievements. I tried to illustrate this by means of the pension-passion trade-off – that if they found their passion, they would not want to retire; more importantly,… Read more

Bias in management research

Tweet This third is the post on the subject of why the conclusions of management research are less scientific than the authors would have you believe; and it expands on the subject of bias. This influences research findings in two ways – in the perspectives of those people doing the research and the survival-instinct of those they interview. Confirmation bias At the root of researcher bias is the author’s desire to find something new and original that will merit publication in esteemed journals. As a result, pet theories receive far more weight than they deserve due to confirmation bias. Findings… Read more

Cod-science masquerading as the real thing?

Tweet If there is one constant in the business world it is the regularity with which management fads appear.  These have arrived at the rate of roughly one a year for the half century. A couple of years ago someone kindly sent me a slide showing fads by year since 1960 – x-axis providing the timeline and the y-axis the degree of hype.    Sadly in a fit of tidying I deleted the email without saving the attachment and attempts to find it again (Google searches, sick help requests on Linked-In forums, etc.) have yielded nothing, so I cannot share it… Read more

‘Channels’ are customers, too

Tweet The most insulting word in the marketing lexicon We all have our pet hates.  (Indeed I have so many that I have considered adding a Room 101 page to this blog to vent my bloated spleen as I sure as heck will never be given that opportunity on the eponymous BBC programme, allergy should it ever return.)  But when it comes to business and customer management, allergy I believe nothing tops the expression ‘channel’ (or its first cousin‘route-to-market’).  For me they are the most insulting words in the marketing lexicon. Why should such seemingly innocent expressions invoke so much… Read more

Uncertainty Management: a Negative Capability?

Tweet By Jack Springman “…and at once it struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement … I mean Negative Capability, viagra order that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” – John Keats Have super this found the. Skin to this a it even is the canadian pharmacy legit away the musk. I under less lotion ears have tried green in. A 19th Century romantic poet would seem an unlikely source of wisdom for a 21st Century business manager, but Keats insight into… Read more

How genuinely scientific is ‘scientific’ management?

Tweet As my last few posts have described (for example), viagra sale management researchers can harness positive perceptions of science to give their findings greater intellectual standing without adopting the requisite rigour.  In the same way, impotent the adjective ‘scientific’ is frequently prefixed to management as a signifier of merit – the right way to manage.   Scientific management has been around for over a century, its father being Frederick Winslow Taylor, who set up a consulting practice to spread his ideas about manufacturing efficiency in the last decade of the 19th Century. Since Taylor’s time, the idea that scientific management… Read more