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Catherine (née Truss) Bailey

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Adrian Madden, Catherine Bailey, Luke Fletcher and Kerstin Alfes

Evidence-based management is an approach to establishing ‘best evidence’ which developed from approaches in medical research in the form of systematic reviews. Its goal is to identify and verify relevant and reliable evidence. Interest in the approach has grown in the management field and new techniques have emerged to support this. We tested one of these techniques - narrative evidence synthesis - as a way to systematically identify and evaluate the evidence on employee engagement. Unlike systematic review, narrative evidence synthesis seeks to explain the effects and the contexts of research studies, to ‘tell the story’ of the research, through plausible explanation. However, it is a technique that has a number of strengths and weaknesses, not least placing overwhelming demands on researchers that are difficult to manage. We describe the use of this technique in some depth and the learning that arose from it.