For organizational neuroscience to progress, it requires an overarching theoretical framework that locates neural processes appropriately within the wider context of organizational cognitive activities. In this chapter, we argue the case for building such a framework on two foundations: (1) critical realism, and (2) socially situated cognition. Critical realism holds to the importance of identifying biophysical roots for organizational activity (including neurophysiological processes) while acknowledging the top-down influence of higher-level, emergent organizational phenomena such as routines and structures, thereby avoiding the trap of reductionism. Socially situated cognition connects the brain, body, and mind to social, cultural, and environmental forces, as significant components of complex organizational systems. By focusing on adaptive action as the primary explanandum, socially situated cognition posits that, although the brain plays a driving role in adaptive organizational activity, this activity also relies on the body, situational context, and cognitive processes that are distributed across organizational agents and artifacts. The value of the framework that we sketch out is twofold. First, it promises to help organizational neuroscience become more than an arena for validating basic neuroscience concepts, enabling organizational researchers to backfill into social neuroscience, by identifying unique relations between the brain and social organization. Second, it promises to build deeper connections between neuroscience and mainstream theories of organizational behavior, by advancing models of managerial and organizational cognition that are biologically informed and socially situated.
Healey, M.P. and Hodgkinson, G.P. (2015), "Toward a Theoretical Framework for Organizational Neuroscience", Organizational Neuroscience (Monographs in Leadership and Management, Vol. 7), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 51-81. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-357120150000007002Download as .RIS
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