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date: 12 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter outlines the case for “evidence-based management” then adopts a critical perspective. To do so, it focuses on a recurring feature of evidence-based writings: the management-as-medicine motif (MAMM). Advocates draw on MAMM in two ways. First, they promote the same model of knowledge production as in medicine, e.g. championing ‘systematic reviews’. Second, they rely on comparisons between management and medicine as professional practices. Identified here are consequent problems and a ‘systematic review’ is considered in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. This concerns a management phenomenon: nursing turnover and there are now five versions of the review. Bizarrely, these never actually review any evidence and the different versions are incompatible. This shows how the protocols of ‘systematic’ reviews do not necessarily lead to superior evidence, instead they can disguise inaccuracies and inconsistencies. It also exemplifies problems with MAMM.

Keywords: evidence-based management, MAMM, systematic review, turnover, comparisons between management and medicine as professional practices

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