Survey of organization managers' knowledge supporting evidence-based human resource management

by Pepitone, James S., Ed.D., PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY, 2009, 169 pages; 3359833


Evidence-based management, which is essentially a manager’s use of the best scientific evidence and relevant practice experience, is becoming recognized as an opportunity to improve managerial performance, much as evidence-based medicine is now improving the practice of medicine. Simultaneously, serious concerns are being raised as to whether HR professionals and organization managers are sufficiently knowledgeable of the research-based evidence available to guide evidence-based HR management decision making.

The purpose of this survey research is to assess the knowledge of mid- to high-level U.S. organization managers regarding 35 research-validated theories of HR management, about which Rynes, Colbert, and Brown (2002) surveyed mid- to high-level HR professionals. Altogether, 7,496 mid- to high-level organization managers were invited by email to participate in this online survey and 336 (at least 5%) usable responses were received.

The findings of this research reveal that mid- to high-level organization managers and mid- to high-level HR professionals have virtually identical levels of understanding of the knowledge items surveyed, with both averaging 57% correct answers. These data indicate that organization managers are equally uninformed as HR professionals of research-validated HR management knowledge, and neither group is well prepared to practice evidence-based HR management. These findings imply that the knowledge regarding HR management principles and methods held by both groups is informed substantially by sources providing knowledge that is not validated by science.

The findings of this research raise concerns about the capacity of HR professionals to assist organization managers with strategic-level guidance. Furthermore, these findings suggest that organization managers will increase their effectiveness with the adoption of evidence-based HR management only when this adoption is supported with complete and accessible sources of valid human-science knowledge, like the forthcoming humaneering technology. However, organization managers may seize this potential for increased effectiveness only when executive management raises the expectations for organizational performance.

AdviserRobert M. Canady
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Occupational psychology; Business education
Publication Number3359833

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