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Evidence-based management : the very idea.

Learmonth, M. and Harding, N. (2006) 'Evidence-based management : the very idea.', Public administration., 84 (2). pp. 245-266.


This essay critically evaluates the recent phenomenon of ‘evidence-based management’ in public services that is especially prominent in health care. We suggest that the current approach, broadly informed by evidence-based health care, is misguided given the deeply contested nature of ‘evidence’ within the discipline of management studies. We argue that its growing popularity in spite of the theoretical problems it faces can be understood primarily as a function of the interests served by the universalization of certain forms of managerialist ‘evidence’ rather than any contribution to organizational effectiveness. Indeed, in a reading informed by the work of French geographer Henri Lefebvre, we suggest that in the long term the project is likely to inhibit rather than encourage a fuller understanding of the nature of public services. We conclude with a call for forms of organizational research that the current preoccupations of the evidence-based project marginalize if not write out altogether.

Item Type:Article
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Date of first online publication:June 2006
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