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Measuring the actionability of evidence for evidence-based management

Farimah HakemZadeh (DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada)
Vishwanath V Baba (DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 20 June 2016




The purpose of this paper is to address the gap between management research and management practice by suggesting that, in addition to rigor and relevance, management knowledge should be actionable to be of practical value. To this end, an index for evaluating actionability is proposed and empirically tested.


Based on reflective and formative conceptualizations of actionability and a critical review of both evidence-based management (EBMgt) and evidence-based medicine literature, the authors developed 40 items that would best represent attributes of actionable research. The authors asked 187 management scholars, members of the editorial boards of influential management journals, and practicing managers to rank the extent to which each item was important to their perceptions of research to be actionable in practice. The authors treated actionability as a two-level construct consisting of first-order reflective factors and second-order formative ones.


Using principal component analysis with varimax rotation six factors were extracted, explaining 68 percent of variance in actionability: operationality, which also included items from causality; contextuality; comprehensiveness; persuasiveness, which split into two dimensions of rigor and unbiasedness; and lastly comprehensibility. Using partial least squares analysis, the authors demonstrated that these six factors formatively contribute to an overall index of actionability of management research.

Research limitations/implications

The index offers an empirical measure to advance research on EBMgt by facilitating theory testing in different management contexts.

Practical implications

The developed index promotes EBMgt by providing producers, disseminators, and users of management knowledge with a metric to appraise actionability of management knowledge.


This index is the first theory-based and empirically tested tool for effectively evaluating the practical value of management research.



HakemZadeh, F. and Baba, V.V. (2016), "Measuring the actionability of evidence for evidence-based management", Management Decision, Vol. 54 No. 5, pp. 1183-1204.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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