Lindebaum D and Jordan JP (2014)
Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35(5): 898–908.
Publication year: 2014a

Organizational neuroscience continues to flourish in organizational behavior and management studies as indicated by the growing number of publications. However, with a few exceptions, substantive critiques of organizational neuroscience are conspicuous by their absence. In this point–counterpoint article, we aim to redress this imbalance. We do so by asking two significant yet neglected questions: (i) how strong is the science behind this domain, and (ii) why are we doing this type of research (the so what? question)? Our analysis shows that the science behind organizational neuroscience is far less rigorous than currently advocated (due to low statistical power of some neuroimaging studies plus an inability to locate mental phenomena precisely in the brain). In terms of the so what? question, we encourage researchers to move away from general statements and become more specific about the phenomena they research. We contend that the practical implications of this research, as well as inferences of the link to behavioral changes, are currently overstated. We also underscore the importance for these studies to become contextually sensitive in order for the researchers to capture important events in the workplace. Finally, we offer some suggestions for future research.