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The importance for business

In this step, we look at how systematic literature reviews can help businesses.
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© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0

Systematic reviews were first used within the medical field (Mallett et al. 2012). Their use has since spread into many fields, including business.

For around three decades, the British government has emphasised the importance of policy and practice being informed by research (Tranfield, Denyer and Smart 2003). Furthermore, Tony Blair spoke of the importance of prioritising evidence when making decisions regarding policies, while he was prime minister in 1997 (Davies, Nutley, and Smith 1999).

The role of systematic reviews was emphasised in 2001 when the Economic and Social Research Council funded the Evidence Network. This network aimed to advance decisions made by government and businesses, through the use of systematic reviews (Tranfield, Denyer and Smart 2003).

The role of systematic reviews in organisations

As well as informing decision making within organisations, systematic reviews can:

  • Allow an organisation to further develop the existing knowledge, by identifying gaps in research
  • Enhance confidence in whether or not something works in an organisation before any money is invested
  • Enhance understanding of potential problems that organisations may face
  • Be useful for consulting the evidence when faced with difficult business or organisational decisions

Your task

Can you think of other reasons, perhaps from your studies or from your real-life experience, as to why a systematic review may be important for organisations?
Share and discuss your thoughts in the comments.


Davies, H. T. O., Nutley, S. M., and Smith, P. C. (1999) ‘Editorial: What Works? The Role of Evidence in Public Sector Policy and Practice’. Public Money and Management 19 (1), 3-5

Mallett, R., Hagen-Zanker, J., Slater, R., and Duvendack, M. (2012) ‘The Benefits and Challenges of Using Systematic Reviews in International Development Research’. Journal of Development Effectiveness 4 (3), 445-455

Tranfield, D., Denyer, D., and Smart, P. (2003) ‘Towards a Methodology for Developing Evidence-Informed Management Knowledge by Means of a Systematic Review’. British Journal of Management 14 (3), 207-222

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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Systematic Literature Review: An Introduction

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