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In response to recent calls to better understand the brain’s role in organizational behavior, we propose a series of theoretical tests to examine the question “can brains…
In response to recent calls to better understand the brain’s role in organizational behavior, we propose a series of theoretical tests to examine the question “can brains manage?” Our tests ask whether brains can manage without bodies and without extracranial resources, whether they can manage in social isolation, and whether brains are the ultimate controllers of emotional and cognitive aspects of organizational behavior. Our analysis shows that, to accomplish work-related tasks in organizations, the brain relies on and closely interfaces with the body, interpersonal and social dynamics, and cognitive and emotional processes that are distributed across persons and artifacts. The results of this “thought experiment” suggest that the brain is more appropriately conceived as a regulatory organ that integrates top-down (i.e., social, artifactual and environmental) and bottom-up (i.e., neural) influences on organizational behavior, rather than the sole cause of that behavior. Drawing on a socially situated perspective, our analysis develops a framework that connects brain, body and mind to social, cultural, and environmental forces, as significant components of complex emotional and cognitive organizational systems. We discuss the implications for the emerging field of organizational cognitive neuroscience and for conceptualizing the interaction between the brain, cognition and emotion in organizations.
For organizational neuroscience to progress, it requires an overarching theoretical framework that locates neural processes appropriately within the wider context of…
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.
This chapter overviews organizational neuroscience (ON), covering the past, present, and future of this growing field of inquiry. First, we define ON and clarify the…
This chapter overviews organizational neuroscience (ON), covering the past, present, and future of this growing field of inquiry. First, we define ON and clarify the boundaries of the field. Second, we describe the evolution of ON by starting with early papers that tended to discuss the potential of ON to benefit both research and practice. Throughout its development, debates have abounded about the value of ON. Such debates are often related to challenges in collecting, integrating, interpreting, and using information from the brain-level of analysis. It is time for the field to move beyond these debates to focus on applying neuroscience to further theory development and reveal more comprehensive answers to research questions of importance to both academics and practitioners. Third, we propose and describe future research directions for ON. The research directions that we propose are merely a sample of the many paths along which ON inquiry can move forward. Fourth, we outline potential practical implications of ON, including: training and development, job design, high-performance assessment, motivating communications, and conflict prevention. Finally, we draw conclusions about ON as it stands today, address challenges in developing ON, and point out opportunities. We conclude with takeaways and highlight the importance of ON for both academics and practitioners.
In light of the growing interest in neuroscience within the managerial and organizational cognition (MOC) scholarly domain at large, this chapter advances current…
In light of the growing interest in neuroscience within the managerial and organizational cognition (MOC) scholarly domain at large, this chapter advances current knowledge on core neuroscience methods. It does so by building on the theoretical analysis put forward by Healey and Hodgkinson (2014, 2015), and by offering a thorough – yet accessible – methodological framework for a better understanding of key cognitive and social neuroscience methods. Classifying neuroscience methods based on their degree of resolution, functionality, and anatomical focus, the chapter outlines their features, practicalities, advantages and disadvantages. Specifically, it focuses on functional magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalography, magnetoencephalography, heart rate variability, and skin conductance response. Equipped with knowledge of these methods, researchers will be able to further their understanding of the potential synergies between management and neuroscience, to better appreciate and evaluate the value of neuroscience methods, and to look at new ways to frame old and new research questions in MOC. The chapter also builds bridges between researchers and practitioners by rebalancing the hype and hopes surrounding the use of neuroscience in management theory and practice.
The chapter examines to what extent research from social cognitive neuroscience can inform ethical leadership. We evaluate the contribution of brain research to the…
The chapter examines to what extent research from social cognitive neuroscience can inform ethical leadership. We evaluate the contribution of brain research to the understanding of ethical leaders as moral persons as well the understanding of their role as moral managers. The areas of social cognitive neuroscience that mirror these two aspects of ethical leadership comprise research relating to understanding oneself, understanding others, and the relationship between the self and others. Within these, we deem it relevant for ethical leadership to incorporate research findings about self-reflection, self-regulation, theory of mind, empathy, trust, and fairness. The chapter highlights social cognitive neuroscience research in these areas and discusses its actual and potential contributions to ethical leadership. The chapter thereby engages also with the broader discussion on the neuroscience of leadership. We suggest new avenues for future research in the field of leadership ethics and responsibility.
Behavioral ethics research in the field of management is burgeoning. While many advancements have been made, applying an organizational neuroscience approach to this area…
Behavioral ethics research in the field of management is burgeoning. While many advancements have been made, applying an organizational neuroscience approach to this area of research has the possibility of creating significant new theoretical, empirical, and practical contributions. We overview the major areas of behavioral ethics research concerning moral cognition and conation, and then we concentrate on existing neuroscience applications to moral cognition (moral awareness, moral judgment/reasoning, effects of moral emotions on moral reasoning, and ethical ideology). We also demonstrate the usefulness of neuroscience applications to organizational behavioral ethics research by summarizing a recent study on the neuroscience of ethical leadership. We close by recommending future research that applies neuroscience to topics such as moral development, group ethical judgments and group moral approbation, and moral conation (e.g., moral courage and moral identity). Our overall purpose is to encourage future neuroscience research on organizational behavioral ethics to supplement and/or complement existing psychological approaches.
In this introductory chapter, we make the case for the need for a book that explores this nascent field that we label as organizational neuroscience. In so doing, we put…
In this introductory chapter, we make the case for the need for a book that explores this nascent field that we label as organizational neuroscience. In so doing, we put the field in an historical context and overview some recent reviews and thought pieces that have touched upon various topics in this emerging discipline. Key arguments for our case include the fact that research methods and paradigms in the organizational sciences could benefit from a consideration of neuroscience issues, and technology has advanced to the point where an infusion of neuroscience methods into organizational research is now highly feasible. In addition, practitioners and practice-oriented media are ready for new approaches and techniques that could utilize neuroscience-based knowledge. Indeed, “C-suite” executives have been willing subjects in many of the studies described in this book and have shown a genuine interest in applying brain-based theories to their own success and to the success of the organizations that they lead. As such, a goal of this book is to begin to connect such emerging knowledge with practice in areas like organizational, employee, and leader development. At the same time, all of the chapters go to great lengths to not get ahead of ourselves in terms of ideas for practice that are not firmly grounded in research. We further place the area of organizational neuroscience in the greater context of related fields, including neuroeconomics and neuromarketing, and we stress the interdisciplinary nature of all of these emerging disciplines. Finally, we overview the remaining chapters and describe how we delineate two parts of the book based on general issues and topical applications, respectively.
The purpose of this paper is to highlight the potential implications and non-implications for leadership and organization development of a recent systematic review of…
The purpose of this paper is to highlight the potential implications and non-implications for leadership and organization development of a recent systematic review of empirical developments in organizational cognitive neuroscience (OCN).
Butler et al.’s (2016) systematic review of 40 empirical articles related to OCN is re-interpreted in terms of its potential to reveal (non-) implications for practice. OCN is critically discussed, then related to the research findings from studies with two methodological designs.
At this stage of OCN’s emergence, it appears that neuroimaging and physiology-based research methods have equal potential in their implications for practice, though hormonal data poses ethical public interest dilemmas. Both methods cannot be reduced to specific forms of application to practice, but they set an aspirational direction for the future development of leadership and organizations.
There appear to be two paces of translational activity – practitioners are moving more quickly than academics in applying OCN to practice. It is suggested that a meeting of minds may be needed to ensure that any risks associated with applying OCN to practice are minimized or eliminated.
Inter-disciplinary research, like OCN, requires a social consensus about how basic research in cognitive neuroscience can be applied to organizations. A think tank will provide opportunities for deeper engagement and co-production between academics and practitioners.
Critically exploring the potential implications of OCN for practice, by basing the discussion on a systematic review of empirical developments.
Recent years have brought significant advances in research on behavioral ethics. However, research on ethical decision making is still in a nascent stage. Our objective in…
Recent years have brought significant advances in research on behavioral ethics. However, research on ethical decision making is still in a nascent stage. Our objective in this paper is twofold: First, we argue that the practice of mindfulness may have significant positive effects on ethical decision making in organizations. More specifically, we will discuss the benefits of “reperceiving” – a meta-mechanism in the practice of mindfulness for ethical decision making and we provide an overview of mindfulness research pertaining to ethical decision making. Subsequently, we explore areas in which neuroscience research may inform research on ethics in organizations. We conclude that both neuroscience and mindfulness offer considerable promise to the field of ethical decision making.
This book comprises the second volume in the recently launched New Horizons in Managerial and Organizational Cognition book series. Volume 1 (Sund, Galavan, & Huff, 2016)…
This book comprises the second volume in the recently launched New Horizons in Managerial and Organizational Cognition book series. Volume 1 (Sund, Galavan, & Huff, 2016), addressed the topic of strategic uncertainty. This second volume comprises a collection of contributions that variously report new methodological developments in managerial and organizational cognition, reflect critically on those developments, and consider the challenges that have yet to be confronted in order to further advance this exciting and dynamic interdisciplinary field. Contextualizing within an overarching framework the various contributions selected for inclusion in the present volume, in this opening chapter we reflect more broadly on what we consider the most significant developments that have occurred over recent years and the most significant challenges that lie ahead.