720308 VL Theories, Methods and Research Results of Aplied Psychology: Evidence-based Management

winter semester 2016/2017 | Last update: 26.07.2016 Place course on memo list
VL Theories, Methods and Research Results of Aplied Psychology: Evidence-based Management
VL 2
each semester

The overarching course objective is the acquisition of substantive knowledge of theories, methods, and findings in psychologically-oriented management research. Specifically, this refers to Evidence-based Management (EBMgt) and Critical Management Studies (CMS) as well as the current controversy between proponents of these two streams. More precisely, upon successful completion of the course students should be able to summarize the defining features and approaches of both research paradigms, to lay out and explain the resulting contradictions and tensions, to demonstrate their implications in the application to organizational issues and research questions, and to develop suggestions on how to resolve or reduce these conflicts. Finally, an evaluation of the different approaches of EBMgt and CMS and their general (in-) commensurability should indicate the formation of a fact-based and scientific as well as critical-reflexive perspective.

A suitable and catchy working title that encapsulates the content of this course could read, for instance: "Evidence-based management and its critics: Lessons from a current controversy". EBMgt refers to a movement in applied psychological research on work and organizations and related social science disciplines. Its goal is to improve the quality of managerial decision-making processes through systematic and judicious use of all available and relevant evidence, based on closer mutual alignment and integration of academic research, teaching, and organizational practices. Role models for the development of principles and methods have been found in parallel developments in other disciplines, most importantly, Evidence-based Medicine. Whereas in the self-image of its proponents, EBMgt is portrayed as a comprehensive, inclusive, and unbiased approach, these and other assumptions have been repeatedly and harshly criticized by scholars associated with the project of CMS. The ensuing academic "exchange of blows", published in international research journals, is characterized by a polemic tone that appears rather unusual for scientific discourses. The essays and arguments that have been brought forward in this context present an exceptional and vivid learning opportunity to become acquainted with two influential streams of psychologically-oriented management research by analyzing, contrasting, and reflecting on their shared and diverging features. In addition to theories, methods, and research findings, this also apples to some more fundamental epistemological and ideological discrepancies between EBMgt und CMS. In the course of a group project, participants will be given the opportunity to work on and acquire more in-depth knowledge about specific course topics, develop their own arguments, applications, and opinions as well as to present, discuss, and elaborate on these issues in writing.

Teaching methods include: (1) introductory lectures on the topic by the course instructor; (2) interactive reviews and critical discussions of the main contents of reading assignments from the current literature; as well as (3) the development, presentation, discussion, and written elaboration of study projects by the course participants, based on specified topics, guidance, and feedback by the course lecturer.

Student grades in this course are based on continuous assessment. This includes several elements: (1) active participation and contributions to the review and discussion of reading assignments; (2) the presentation of study projects by groups of students in class; as well as (3) the quality of the write-up of the study projects. Due to the international character of the course contents and literature, writing assignments may be submitted in either German or English language.

A detailed and classified by topic literature with specific reading assignments will be announced at the beginning of the event. It is consistently to scientific publications in English. The following references are examples as to understand.


Alvesson, M., Bridgman, T., & Willmott, H. (eds.) (2009). The Oxford Handbook of Critical Management Studies. New York: Oxford University Press.

Rousseau, D. M. (ed.) (2012). The Oxford Handbook of Evidence-based Management. New York: Oxford University Press.

Journal articles:

Adler, P. S., Forbes, L. C., & Willmott, H. (2007). Critical management studies. The Academy of Management Annals, 1, 119–179.

Briner, R., Denyer, D., & Rousseau, D. M. (2009). Evidence-based management: Concept cleanup time. Academy of Management Perspectives, 23, 19–32.

Learmonth, M. (2008). Evidence-based management: A backlash against pluralism in organizational studies? Organization, 15, 283–291.

Morrell, K., Learmonth, M., & Heracleous, L. (2015). An archaeological critique of ‘evidence-based management’: One digression after another. British Journal of Management, 26, 529–543.

Rousseau, D. M. (2006). Is there such a thing as evidencebased management? Academy of Management Review, 31, 256–269.

Rousseau, D. M., & Gunia, B. (2016). Evidence-based practice: The psychology of EBP implementation. Annual Review of Psychology, 67, 667-692.

Rousseau, D. M., Manning, J., & Denyer, D. (2008). Evidence in management and organizational science: Assembling the field’s full weight of scientific knowledge through syntheses. The Academy of Management Annals, 2, 475–515.

Visser, M. (2010). Critical management studies and “mainstream” organization science. A proposal for a rapprochement. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 18, 466-478.

see dates
Group 0
Date Time Location
Fri 2016-10-14
13.00 - 17.00 60408 SR 60408 SR Barrier-free
Fri 2016-11-18
10.15 - 17.15 Hörsaal 6 Hörsaal 6 Barrier-free
Sat 2016-11-19
10.00 - 14.00 52U105 52U105 Barrier-free
Fri 2016-12-09
10.00 - 17.00 60408 SR 60408 SR Barrier-free
Sat 2016-12-10
10.00 - 14.00 52U105 52U105 Barrier-free