From Evidence-based Management to Management of Non-knowledge

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Leadership and management are increasingly expected to base themselves on evidence, i.e. knowledge. This article does not disagree that knowledge may be beneficial. Yet, based on sociological insights on the complex relation between knowledge and ignorance, the article argues that more knowledge does not lead to less ignorance or non-knowledge. Building on Luhmann’s systems-theoretical concept of knowledge as selecting structures which reduce complexity, the article outlines a different approach to ignorance in management and leadership. It raises the question what an intelligent approach to ignorance looks like. Inspired by Foucault’s historical analysis of the emergence of liberal ideas of government, the article argues that managerial self-limitation is crucial in the development of a ‘management of non-knowledge’ to complement evidence based management.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEmergence: Complexity and Organization
Issue number2
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Published online: 30. June 2017

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