Merged Datasets: An Analytic Tool for Evidence-Based Management
California Management Review.52 (1), pp.120-139, 2009
Posted: 9 Mar 2013 Last revised: 2 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 1, 2009
Many businesses fail to merge and analyze data effectively. When data are merged from diverse independent sources across a business — something that is now practical and inexpensive — it becomes possible to conduct rigorous pretest-posttest comparisons of complex datasets with a precision, speed, and breadth that have not been practical until now. This paper describes a straightforward method for merging independent datasets and using the compiled data to run informative quantitative analyses that facilitate sound decision-making. Our approach can help support several critical tasks in evidence-based management: documenting changes in the corporate culture; measuring linkages between “soft” perceptual variables and “hard” performance metrics; conducting rigorous pretest-posttest comparisons; and evaluating program effectiveness. We provide case-study examples using merged datasets, along with a brief discussion of experimental designs, underlying theory, pitfalls, impediments, and essential features.
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