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Evidence-based management: Robert Sutton

Sutton's research focuses on the links (and gaps) between managerial knowledge and organizational action, organizational creativity and innovation, organizational performance, and evidence-based management.
Robert Sutton is Professor of Management Science and Engineering in the Stanford Engineering School. His book, The No Asshole Rule, won the Quill Award for the best business book of 2007. Sutton was also named as one of 10 “B-School All-Stars” by BusinessWeek in 2007, which they described as “professors who are influencing contemporary business thinking far beyond academia.”

Evidence-based management entails managerial decisions and organizational practices informed by the best available scientific evidence. Like its counterparts in medicine[1] and education, the judgments EBMgt entails also consider the circumstances and ethical concerns managerial decisions involve. In contrast to medicine and education, however, EBMgt today is only hypothetical. Contemporary managers and management educators make limited use of the vast behavioral science evidence base relevant to effective management practice.
An important part of EBMgt is educating current and future managers in evidence-based practices. The EBMgt website maintained at Stanford University provides a repository of syllabi, cases, and tools that can inform the teaching of evidence-based management.
Efforts to promote EBMgt face greater challenges than have other evidence-based initiatives. Unlike, medicine, nursing, education, and law enforcement, "Management" is not a profession. There are no established legal or cultural requirements regarding education or knowledge for an individual to become a manager. Managers have diverse disciplinary backgrounds. A college degree may be required for an MBA – but not to be a manager. No formal body of shared knowledge characterizes managers, making it unlikely that peer pressure will be exerted to promote use of evidence by any manager who refuses to do so

The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't is a book by Stanford professor Robert I. Sutton, based on a popular essay he wrote for the Harvard Business Review. It sold over 115,000 copies and won the Quill Award for best business book in 2007
Bob Sutton's List of The Dirty Dozen Common Everyday Actions That A**holes Use

1. Personal insults
2. Invading one's personal territory
3. Uninvited personal contact
4. Threats and intimidation, both verbal and non-verbal
5. Sarcastic jokes and teasing used as insult delivery systems
6. Withering email flames
7. Status slaps intended to humiliate their victims
8. Public shaming or status degradation rituals
9. Rude interruptions
10. Two-faced attacks
11. Dirty looks
12. Treating people as if they are invisible

"There's an emotional reaction to a dirty title. You have a choice between being offensive and being ignored."
—Robert Sutton
Two tests are specified for recognition of the asshole:

  1. After encountering the person, do people feel oppressed, humiliated or otherwise worse about themselves?
  2. Does the person target people who are less powerful than him/her?



The Author cites companies that have effectively instilled a "No A**hole Rule" because they have realized that the true cost of the A**hole runs deeper than the A**hole's salary (TCA or Total Cost of A**holes). It truly can diminish productivity in the office, increase employee turnover, stifle communication, and lower employee self esteem and health. The book explains how to implement a No A**hole Rule at any organization.

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