Lindebaum, D (2016)
Human Relations, 69(3): 537 –550.
Publication year: 2016

In this critical essay, I contend that accelerating demands for novel theories in management studies imply that new methodologies and data are sometimes accepted prematurely as supply of these novel theories. This point is illustrated with reference to how neuroscience can inform management research. I propose two demand forces that foster the increased focus on neuroscience in management studies, these being (i) the direction of public research funding, and (ii) publication bias as a boost for journal impact factor. Looking at the supply side, I note that (i) the statistical power of studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (or fMRI, the ‘gold’ standard) is unacceptably low, (ii) the use of imprecise ‘motherhood’ statements, and (iii) the dismissal of ethical concerns in the formulation of management theories and practice informed by neuroscience. I then briefly outline the bad consequences of this for management theory and practice, emphasize why it is important to prevent these consequences, and offer some methodological suggestions for future research.


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