Within the context of organisations and managerial roles, decision making is not always informed by up-to-date evidence. At best, there might not be time to consider the outcomes, and at worst, they might be wilfully ignored in favour of managerial intuition. Timing is one reason for this, but others include a lack of resources and organisational support.
Addressing this issue is an important area of research focus in the Research School of Management (RSM), and it involves identifying the gaps in the use of evidence and filling them with rigorous studies. Because of the diverse set of underlying causes, the solutions can come from a variety of discipline areas, such as organisational behaviour, human resource management, and management practice.
Dr Guihyun Park specialises in team dynamics and has explored how to break down interteam conflicts and tensions in organisations. Organisations increasingly rely on team-based work systems and yet intergroup behaviour tends toward competition, which can make conflict management in organisations especially difficult.
Guihyun’s work found that when groups engaged in a high quality group discussion, in which they fully considered and deliberated different views before making a final decision, groups were more likely to break out of hostile intergroup relationships. Ironically, those groups with a leader that strongly promoted collaborative relationships failed to make their groups successfully cooperate with other groups. This was because the leaders’ strong conforming influence hampered the quality of overall group discussion. Research like this is an integral part of providing organisations with evidence of how they can improve their efficiency and decision making.
Others in RSM are involved with the Centre for Evidence-Based Management (CEBMa), based out of the Netherlands, which provides support and resources to managers, organisations, teachers, academics and others interested in learning more about evidence-based decision-making. RSM Honorary Associate Professor Eric Barends is the current Managing Director of CEBMa and recently worked with Associate Professor Alessandra Capezio to produce a research report on ethical behaviour in the workplace. It identifies actions that employers can take, based on the latest evidence, to have a positive impact on workplace ethics.
RSM covers a wide range of research that can be applied to improving decision making in management and organisational contexts. These are just some examples of the collaborative and multi-disciplinary work happening within the School.