We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Beyond Gaussian averages : redirecting management research toward extreme events and power laws.

Andriani, Pierpaolo and McKelvey, Bill (2006) 'Beyond Gaussian averages : redirecting management research toward extreme events and power laws.', Working Paper. Durham University, Durham.


Practicing managers live in a world of ‘extremes’ but management research is based on Gaussian statistics that rule out those extremes. On occasion, deviation amplifying mutual causal processes among interdependent data points cause extreme events characterized by power laws. They seem ubiquitous; we lis t80 kinds of them – half each among natural and social phenomena. We draw a ‘line in the sand’ between Gaussian (based on independent data points, finite variance and emphasizing averages) and Paretian statistics(based on interdependence, positive feedback, infinite variance, and emphasizing extremes). Quantitative journal publication depends almost entirely on Gaussian statistics. We draw on complexity and earthquake sciences to propose redirecting Management Studies. No statistical findings should be accepted into Management Studies if they gain significance via some assumption-device by which extreme events and infinite variance are ignored. The cost is inaccurate science and irrelevance to practitioners.

Item Type:Monograph (Working Paper)
Keywords:Power laws, Fractals, Gaussian, Pareto, Mandelbrot, Distribution, Robustness, Interdependence, Positive feedback, Extremes, Complexity, Earthquakes, Normal science.
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Download PDF
Status:Not peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:
Record Created:07 Dec 2012 10:38
Last Modified:16 Oct 2013 13:34

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitterExport: EndNote, Zotero | BibTex
Look up in GoogleScholar | Find in a UK Library