Evolutionary Neuroscience and Motivation in Organizations

Organizational Neuroscience

ISBN: 978-1-78560-431-7, eISBN: 978-1-78560-430-0

ISSN: 1479-3571

Publication date: 15 December 2015


This chapter introduces evolutionary neuroscience and its organizational applications, especially its usefulness for motivation analysis in macrolevel disciplines such as strategic management. Macrolevel organizational disciplines have mostly lacked a theory of motivation beyond self-interest assumptions, which fail to explain many important macrolevel organizational phenomena. Evolutionary neuroscience provides an empirically grounded, parsimonious perspective on the human brain and brain evolution which helps clarify the profound complexities of motivation. Evolutionary neuroscience’s theory of the physiological causes of self- and other-interested motivation can support better macrolevel motivation analysis and unify disparate, potentially conflicting motivation theories. Examples are offered of how neuroscience-based motivation theory can support more comprehensive strategic management analysis of competences and competitive advantage.



Wood, R., Levine, D., Cory, G. and Wilson, D. (2015), "Evolutionary Neuroscience and Motivation in Organizations", Organizational Neuroscience (Monographs in Leadership and Management, Vol. 7), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 143-167. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-357120150000007005

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