Assignment and Exercises - Center for Evidence

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Assignments and exercises
Postgraduate Course
Assignments and exercises
Postgraduate Course
1. Popular management book
2. Surfacing assumptions
3. Cognitive errors and biases
4. Critical thinking
5. Focused question
6. Search for evidence
7. Research designs
8. Critical appraisal
9. CAT
1. Popular management book
Postgraduate Course
“Go to the bookstore and buy a
popular management book.”
(or provide your students with a popular mgt book)
1. Popular management book
Postgraduate Course
1. What types of sources are cited?
2. Approximately what proportion of sources appears to be
 personal or anecdotal
 based on so-called “best-practices” of other companies
 other business books or publications
 scientific evidence? (check 3 citations in ABI/Inform)
3. What do we know about the author? (check Google and ABI/Inform)
4. What do we about the proposed model / principles?
(ditto)
5. Is the model/ principle generalizable to your organization?
6. Does the book appear useful (explain why)?
2. Surfacing assumptions
Postgraduate Course
Bring along a policy
paper, project proposal,
strategy document or
change plan from your
organization and give it
to a colleague student.
2. Surfacing assumptions
Postgraduate Course
1. Read the policy paper / project proposal / strategy
document / change plan.
2. Underline all assumptions.
3. Determine the three most questionable or critical
assumptions.
4. Make a suggestion on how these assumptions could be
substantiated.
3. Cognitive errors and Biases
Postgraduate Course
Give an example of three of the following biases and
explain how they affect managerial decision making
3. Cognitive errors and Biases
Postgraduate Course
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Seeing order in randomness
Mental corner cutting
Misinterpretation of incomplete data
Halo effect
False consensus effect
Group think
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Self serving bias
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Sunk cost fallacy
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Cognitive dissonance reduction 
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Confirmation bias
Authority bias
Small numbers fallacy
In-group bias
Recall bias
Anchoring bias
Inaccurate covariation detection
Distortions due to plausibility
4. Critical thinking
Postgraduate Course
Four exercises in critical thinking
4. Critical thinking
Postgraduate Course
1: Try to determine whether each statement is a fact or an opinion.
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Apple makes the best mobile phones.
Microsoft has more employees than Apple.
My telephone number is difficult to memorize.
Dogs make better pets than turtles.
Smoking is bad for your health.
Smoking causes 85% of all cases of lung cancer in the U.S.
One out of every hundred American citizens is colour-blind.
Two out of ten American citizens are boring.
4. Critical thinking
Postgraduate Course
2. Identify the hidden assumptions in these arguments
 All accountants I have met so far are detail oriented. Therefore,
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the accountants in this organization are very likely to be detail
oriented.
Apple is a very successful company, so Steve Jobs is a great
leader.
I think we should cut down on marketing costs. After all, Steve
Jobs never invested any money in marketing.
Most people disapprove of awarding financial bonuses to
executives. So awarding financial bonuses is wrong.
Most organizations with an HR department have low absentee
rates. So all organizations should have an HR department.
4. Critical thinking
Postgraduate Course
3. The following appeared in a proposal from the economic minister of
the country of Paraterra. Try to identify alternative explanations for the
relevant conclusions or observations. Also, think about additional facts
or information that would help determine the plausibility of the
conclusions.
"In order to strengthen its lagging economy, last year the government of
the nearby country of Bellegea began an advertising campaign to
promote ecologically sound tourism (ecotourism). This year the number
of foreign visitors arriving at Bellegea's main airport doubled, and per
capita income in Bellegea increased by ten percent. To provide more
income for the population of Paraterra and also preserve the natural
environment of our tiny country, we too should begin to promote
ecotourism. To ensure that our advertising campaign is successful, we
should hire the current director of Bellegea's National Tourism Office as
a consultant for the campaign.”
4. Critical thinking
Postgraduate Course
4. The following appeared in a newspaper article about business schools in
the city of Megalopolis. Try to identify alternative explanations for the
relevant conclusions or observations. Also, think about additional facts or
information that would help determine the plausibility of the conclusion.
"In Megalopolis, the number of business school graduates who went to
work for large, corporate firms declined by 15 percent over the last three
years, whereas an increasing number of graduates took jobs at small,
general practice firms. Even though large firms usually offer much higher
salaries, business school graduates are choosing to work for the smaller
firms most likely because they experience greater job satisfaction at
smaller firms. In a survey of first- year students at a leading business
school, most agreed with the statement that earning a high salary was less
important to them than job satisfaction. This finding suggests that the
large, corporate firms of Megalopolis will need to offer graduates more
benefits and incentives and reduce the number of hours they must work."
5. Focused question
Postgraduate Course
1. Read the following five scenario’s
2. Formulate on the basis of each scenario a focused
question (use the PICOC format).
Scenario 1
Postgraduate Course
“I am a change- and project manager at a local branch of an English
bank. The management of this particular branch struggles with low job
satisfaction among its employees. Management has tried several
intuitive initiatives to improve this. However last year’s Job Satisfaction
Survey shows that these efforts have not resulted in any improvement.
After the outcomes of the Survey became clear, the management
intuitively has organised a meeting with all employees to ask them one
simple question: what, in your opinion, is important for your jobsatisfaction. The outcomes of this session were the following four
terms: Trust, Transparency, Pride and Fun. Employees and management
together agreed that Trust was the most determinant variable and they
decided to start from there.
With my new found knowledge on evidence based management, I ask
myself this question: is there scientific evidence that shows that
organizational trust indeed has a positive influence on the level of job
satisfaction among employees in the private sector? “
Scenario 2
Postgraduate Course
“I am a Dutch quality manager at a large international brewery. In the past 4
years I facilitated a lean management program that is running for more than 10
years in this organization. The program has a very complete training and
development plan and a central audit organization In the first years the progress
and results of the program grew very rapidly. Since a couple of years, however,
we see a decline in results, such as:
- The number of problem analysis and improvement teams has been increased,
but the amount of breakdowns and short stops in the production lines are not
decreased.
- There is slow progress for the total program for the Netherlands at this
moment.
According to the middle managers the improvement program does not address
really important topics. I would therefore like to know more about the long-term
effect of lean management in terms of organizational performance and reduced
breakdowns.”
Scenario 3
Postgraduate Course
“I work for ABC, one of Germany’s key players in the
national grid. The organization is responsible for a reliable
network for gas and electric transport. Originally ABC
depends on technology driven employees and many other
specialists. Most managers are ‘doers’ (rather than
‘thinkers’) who got promotion by seniority. Too often they
are technology-driven and substantively oriented. The
Purchasing Department is led by a management team
that is too operational. It needs to progress towards a
more tactical/strategic level. What is needed to facilitate
this development?”
Scenario 4
Postgraduate Course
“During my career I have worked in many different types of
organizations. The most interesting but also challenging experience I
had was working with a dispersed group of autonomous professionals in
a global company. However, despite the excitement of working across
borders I gradually started to get frustrated, because my team did not
perform the way I expected and reacted different than I expected than I
was used working with collocated teams. As I gained more experience
with this international team I started to question the difference
between a virtual team and a collocated team and how they relate to
team performance and leadership. Is there evidence on the influence of
virtuality of a team on the team performance and does a virtual team
require a different style of leadership?”
Scenario 5
Postgraduate Course
“I am a manager at a small Italian IT firm (80 employees, annual
turnover 10mln euro) specialized in the development of risk
reporting software for the insurance industry. There is a clear
ambition to grow. The four owner-managers perceive the current
organization as too bureaucratic with a lack of entrepreneurship.
The chairman of the management has been told by a business
friend who works in a large enterprise that the concept of the
balanced scorecard will help him to get the desired behavior of his
employees. Intuitively I seriously doubt if the concept of the
balanced scorecard is applicable to and usable for small owner
managed companies. Before expressing my doubts to the chairman
I want to gather evidence supporting my intuition.“
6. Search for evidence
Postgraduate Course
6. Search for evidence
Postgraduate Course
1. Search for research articles on team building
team building: outcome
Postgraduate Course
team building: outcome
Postgraduate Course
team building: outcome
Postgraduate Course
team building: outcome
Postgraduate Course
6. Search for evidence
Postgraduate Course
2. Search in ABI/Inform:
1. How many articles has Stephen Covey published in peer reviewed journals?
2. How many of these articles are based on scientific research?
3. Are there articles (by other authors) that are critical of Covey’s 7 Habits?
4. How many of these critical articles are based on scientific research?
6. Search for evidence
Postgraduate Course
Q1: 4 articles: (Emotional bank accounts, The Journal for Quality and Participation 17. 7 (Dec
1994); Involving people in the problem, The Journal for Quality and Participation 17. 5 (Sep 1994);
Principle-Centered Leadership, The Journal for Quality and Participation 15. 4 (Jul/Aug 1992);
Principle-centered leadership and change, The Journal for Quality and Participation 17. 2 (Mar 1994)
Q2: 0 articles
Q3: 2 articles: Cullen, John G., How to sell your soul and still get into Heaven: Steven Covey’s
epiphany-inducing technology of effective selfhood, Human Relations 62. 8 (Aug 2009): 1231.
Jackson, Bradley G., The goose that laid the golden egg? A rhetorical critique of Stephen Covey and
the effectiveness movement, The Journal of Management Studies 36. 3 (May 1999): 353-377.
Q4: 0 articles
6. Search for evidence
Postgraduate Course
3. Search in ABI/Inform or BSE:
 Search for peer reviewed research articles to answer the following
question: What is the long term effect of a hostile take-over on the
financial performance of the acquired organization? Use the following
search terms:
“hostile takeovers”, “financial performance”, “long term”
How many studies did you find?
6. Search for evidence
Postgraduate Course
1. SU.EXACT(“Hostile takeovers”) OR TI(“Hostile takeovers”) OR AB(“hostile takeovers”)
= 444
2. SU.EXACT("Financial performance") OR TI("Financial performance") OR AB("Financial
performance") = 5054
3. 1 AND 2 = 13
4. SU.EXACT("Long term") OR TI("Long term") OR AB("Long term") = 24.208
5. 3 AND 4 = 1
6. limit ‘studies’ = 1
Mahendra Rajand Michael Forsyth, Hostile bidders, long-term performance, and
restructuring methods: Evidence from the UK, American Business Review 20. 1 (Jan
2002): 71-81.
7. Research design
Postgraduate Course
Assignment 1
1. Read the article by Shulman & Jones (cut off the
methodology section!)
2. Determine the best study design for the research
question and defend the basis of your choice.
Shulman, K.R. and Jones, G.E. (1996), ‘The Effectiveness of Massage Therapy
Intervention on Reducing Anxiety in the Workplace’, Journal of Applied Behavioral
Science, 32 (2)
7. Research design: outcome 1
Postgraduate Course
=
7. Research designs
Postgraduate Course
Assignment 2
1. Read the article by Boonstra & Govers and Bond, and
the article by Flaxman & Bunce (cut off the methodogy
section!).
2. Determine the best study design for the research
question and defend the basis of your choice.
Frank W. Bond, Paul E. Flaxman, and David Bunce (2008), Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 93, No. 3
Albert Boonstra and Mark J.G. Govers (2009), New Technology, Work and Employment, Vol. 24, No. 2
8. Critical appraisal
Postgraduate Course
1. Read the article by Fairfield-Son et al.
2. Critically appraise the internal validity of the study (A, B, C or D?)
3. Write your results in a Word document of at least 250 words.
James W Fairfield-Sonn, John R Ogilvie and Gerard A DelVecchio (2002), Mergers, acquisitions and longterm employee attitudes, The Journal of Business and Economic Studies; Fall 2002; 8, 2.
8. CAT: Critically Appraised Topic
Postgraduate Course
8. CAT: Critically Appraised Topic
Postgraduate Course
A Critically Appraised Topic (CAT) is a structured, short
(3
pages max) summary of evidence on a topic of interest,
usually focused around a practical problem or question.
A CAT is like a “quick and dirty” version of a systematic
review, summarizing the best available research evidence on
a topic. Usually more than one study is included in a CAT.
Examples: http://www.cebma.org/presentations/
CAT: structure
Postgraduate Course
1) Background / context
2) Question (PICOC)
3) Search strategy
4) Results / evidence summary
5) Findings
6) Limitations
7) Recommendation

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