In this essay, we ask whether leadership development needs to care more about neuroethics in an era when neuroscientific interventions gain credence at work? Informed by emerging discussions amongst neuroscientists, we address two main issues. First, recent debates cast significant doubt on the validity of neurofeedback (especially neurofeedback using electroencephalography). These studies argue instead that it works through placebo rather than real effects. Second, further ethical concerns arise in response to (i) questionable commercial practice, (ii) issues of organizational in/justice and (iii) tendencies to ignore or downplay practical wisdom. Our discussion incites us to be both critical of neuro-feedback’s scientistic credentials and aware of its broader historical conditions of possibility. We complement these cautions with a call to action for leader development researchers and practitioners.

Please note: The AOM ‘Insights’ platform features a practitioner-focused summary of this essay (click here). In addition, the platform has also produced a video abstarc, which can be seen here.

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