4 Information Sources for Evidence-Based Leadership & Management (ELM)

The term “evidence-based” was originally employed in the field of Medicine to guide how Doctors make decisions regarding patient care. Evidence-based management improves a leader’s decisions by disciplined application of the most relevant and current scientific evidence. Although many definitions of evidence-based management are available, Briner, Denyer and Rousseau (2009) define it as how leaders can be more effective in all aspects of their jobs including making decisions about employees, teams or organizations through the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of research information. Evidence-based leadership and management © (ELM) is a specific case of evidence-based management that focuses on leadership knowledge and how to apply it. For EBL, these sources of information include the following:

1. The best available scientific evidence – Research published on leadership and management.
2. The best available organizational evidence – interviews and/or surveys from people in your organization.
3. The best available expert evidence – knowledge from experts in the field.
4. Value-added evidence — Information from stakeholders – for example, stock price to shareholders or the organization’s promotion of women and minorities into upper management positions.

Evidence-based leadership & management takes the “guesswork” out of being an effective leader. We have decades of scientific research on what leaders can do to be more effective. In this blog, I will be discussing the four sources of evidence to share this wealth of knowledge with you. The most relevant scientific research on leadership and management will provide you with the tools you need to address the most current challenges managers now face. Second, I believe that you need to conduct interviews and/or surveys with people in your organization to assess what is specific to your situation so that you understand how to correctly apply EBL. Third, I will be interviewing experts from academe, consulting and organizations who will share their knowledge. Finally, I will examine the value-added contributions that leaders today must monitor so that their organizations remain viable – what metrics matter and how you must monitor them.

While evidence-based management is not a new concept, I will provide a focused approach on how leaders can be more effective by employing the four sources of evidence I have described in this post. I look forward to your comments and questions so that I can research answers to your questions.

Briner, R.B., Denyer, D. and Rousseau, D. M. (2009). Evidence-based management: Construct cleanup time? Academy of Management Perspectives, 4, 19-32.

Podcast #1 – Michael Johnson interviews Terri Scandura about mentoring relationships and leadership

In this Podcast, Michael Johnson interviews Terri Scandura regarding her body of research on mentoring at work. She discusses the relationship between mentoring and leadership, the effects of gender on mentoring relationships, and how dysfunctional mentoring relationships occur. She finishes by giving recommendations to both mentors and mentees on how to start and maintain a good mentoring relationship.

Michael Johnson is an Assistant Professor in Department of Management and Organization at the University of Washington.

Professor to manager & back:

How I spent my summer vacation(s)

I have been a Professor of Management for over 20 years and have conducted research on leadership and mentorship. I research the development of high quality working relationships which are essential for maximizing organizational effectiveness. I have taught undergraduate, MBA and PhD students at the University of Kentucky and the University of Miami Business Schools. For the past five years, I served as the Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Miami, managing both people and programs during a period of rapid organizational change. I realized that some of our theories of leadership and management work and others don’t. It was refreshing to learn that we really do know a lot about what works and doesn’t work for leaders. I also realized that much of what we know isn’t translated very well for practicing managers. I am back on the faculty now much wiser having been a managerial leader for five years. Through encouragement from a former MBA student (@IamJohnSparks) who is now a social media consultant based in Dallas, Texas, I decided to start tweeting about what I see as relevant and absolutely essential for a leader to know. I see myself as a curator of leadership and management thought. I now have over 1600  followers on twitter (@terriscandura) and more than 500 connections on LinkedIn ( and was honored to be listed this month as one of the most influential professors on leadership by the LDRLB (@LDRLB — pronounced leader lab — an online think tank that shares insights from research on leadership, innovation, and strategy). My next step was to set up this website, where I can post links to resources you need as a leader including articles I come across and leadership assessment tools.  I will also be making blog posts like this one.
My interest in leadership started long before I started my Ph.D. program in organizational behavior at the University of Cincinnati School of Business Administration. During the summer months, a “bookmobile” would come to our neighborhood each week. They had a summer reading program in which we received a stamp for every book we read. I found a book about George Washington and become interested in what made him different – why did he have the courage to lead an army against what seemed to be a hopeless cause and prevail? What led to him being so trusted by people that they elected him to be their President? So I asked the librarian the next time for more books about leaders. She helped me pick out a book on Thomas Jefferson. That summer I read a lot books about leaders. I also remember reading books about Maria (Madam) Curie, Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman and Helen Keller. As I look at it now, I realize that I have a passion for learning about leadership that is marrow deep. I have published over two hundred book chapters, articles and conference papers – mostly on leadership and mentorship. I have taught thousands of students and disseminated information from my research and that of my colleagues in classes and at management and industrial/organizational psychology conferences. Through tweeting I realized that I could reach an even broader audience. I spent this past summer tweeting about leadership and management (as I spent another summer embarking on my lifelong journey by reading about leaders so many years ago). I have much to share with you and this blog will allow me to share more of my experiences and reflections on what leaders need to know in the challenging environments of change we now face.