A recent study investigated a small number of chief executive officers in NHS acute hospitals and mental health trusts to determine how they actually mobilise knowledge and evidence resources prior to making decisions.
NHS CEOs seek information and use knowledge most of the day (even if in unplanned ways, particularly through conversations with trusted colleagues), simply to be able to make sense of the world.
A tale of two cultures?
“CEOs very rarely mobilise knowledge in the canonical way described in many of the existing models – though this does not make them poorly informed or irrational decision-makers. In particular, they rarely search, retrieve, consult and quote scientific and other forms of formalised evidence in person. Instead, they systematically ask others to do so and put in place the necessary mechanisms that allow them to progress from intuition to facts”.
Nicolini, D. Powell, J. [and] Korica, M. Keeping knowledgeable: how NHS chief executive officers mobilise knowledge and information in their daily work. Health Services and Delivery Research. August 2014; Vol. 2(26).
There is also an Executive Summary.