Evidence based management and mainstreaming sustainability

Sustainability and corporate responsibility managers (is there a difference now?) should take very serious note of Jeff Pfeffer.

Why is this?

Because he advocates something really quite simple (in theory) that can help companies trying to ‘mainstream’ sustainability in their business.

Pfeffer (who has written a couple of my favourite management books, along with Drucker), is a proponent of what he calls evidence-based management.

Sounds like a simple concept. But listen to this brilliant podcast and you’ll realise it’s something lots of companies fail to really practice.

Pfeffer is useful for sustainability because it’s a nascent area of business management, usually utilises very poor research methodologies, and features even more decisions than usual made on emotion and hearsay, than the rest of business.

Check out and enjoy Jeff Pfeffer. He’s clear, simple and even funny. You can’t ask much more than that.

His analysis of “casual benchmarking” in business is worth thinking about if you work in CSR!


  1. Smitha Vasudevan

    Thanks for introducing Pfeffer. I went through what he had to say on Evidence based Management after reading your blog. Truly his theory is as such simple to understand but needs a constant will and acceptance of the real principles of being a learning organization.
    He mentions of "people who sustain organizational learning"- the noisy complainers and disruptive questioners.This made me think that in practice this 'talents of wisdom" will get no recognition or will be tempered down in organizations targeting certifications, awards and recognitions and engaging their employees in preparing data for the presentation to the evaluators. The well intentioned complaints and disruptions would certainly go in deaf ears.However, the conscious practice of Evidence Based Management in the long run would definitely have a reflection on the ethical functioning of the organization.

  2. Wow this certainly makes me stop and think. I do not want to be thought of as a 'noisy complainer' or a 'disruptive questioner.' I will have to ensure I don't fall into any of these two categories. One thing I wanted to mention is that. I use a very informative book titled, "Reinvent Your Enterprise" by Jack Bergstrand that has been a huge help o me. As a manager I found it to be particularly helpful due to the fact that it focuses on helping companies succeed by teaching them to be better and faster by adopting the next frontier of management—systematically improving knowledge work productivity. I thought found it to be incredibly valuable.

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