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The Ombudsman: Management Folklore and Management Science—On Portfolio Planning, Escalation Bias, and Such


  • J. Scott Armstrong

    (The Wharton school, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104)


Management folklore sometimes leads to unprofitable decision making. Thus, studies of the value of such folklore should be of interest to managers, especially when they identify unprofitable procedures. I reviewed empirical research on scientific publishing and concluded that studies supporting. management folklore are likely to be favorably reviewed for publication and to be cited. However, researchers who obtain findings that refute folklore are likely to encounter resistance in publication and are less likely to be cited. My experience with papers on portfolio planning methods and escalation bias illustrates the problem. To encourage the publication of papers that challenge management folklore, editors should use results-blind reviews and, in some cases, constrain, reduce, or eliminate peer review.

Suggested Citation

  • J. Scott Armstrong, 1996. "The Ombudsman: Management Folklore and Management Science—On Portfolio Planning, Escalation Bias, and Such," Interfaces, INFORMS, vol. 26(4), pages 25-55, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:orinte:v:26:y:1996:i:4:p:25-55

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    Cited by:

    1. Hugh J. Miser, 1998. "The Easy Chair: Journal Editing as I See It," Interfaces, INFORMS, vol. 28(5), pages 115-123, October.
    2. Hugh J. Miser, 1998. "The Ombudsman: Reaction to Armstrong's “Management Folklore and Management Science”," Interfaces, INFORMS, vol. 28(4), pages 81-93, August.
    3. Malcolm Wright & J. Scott Armstrong, 2008. "The Ombudsman: Verification of Citations: Fawlty Towers of Knowledge?," Interfaces, INFORMS, vol. 38(2), pages 125-139, April.
    4. J. Scott Armstrong & Ruth Pagell, 2003. "The Ombudsman: Reaping Benefits from Management Research: Lessons from the Forecasting Principles Project," Interfaces, INFORMS, vol. 33(6), pages 91-111, December.

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