How organizational cognitive neuroscience can deepen understanding of managerial decision-making: a review of the recent literature and future directions

Michael J.R. Butler*, Holly L.R. O'Broin, Nick Lee, Carl Senior

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

There is growing interest in exploring the potential links between human biology and management and organization studies, which is bringing greater attention to bear on the place of mental processes in explaining human behaviour and effectiveness. The authors define this new field as organizational cognitive neuroscience (OCN), which is in the exploratory phase of its emergence and diffusion. It is clear that there are methodological debates and issues associated with OCN research, and the aim of this paper is to illuminate these concerns, and provide a roadmap for rigorous and relevant future work in the area. To this end, the current reach of OCN is investigated by the systematic review methodology, revealing three clusters of activity, covering the fields of economics, marketing and organizational behaviour. Among these clusters, organizational behaviour seems to be an outlier, owing to its far greater variety of empirical work, which the authors argue is largely a result of the plurality of research methods that have taken root within this field. Nevertheless, all three clusters contribute to a greater understanding of the biological mechanisms that mediate choice and decision-making. The paper concludes that OCN research has already provided important insights regarding the boundaries surrounding human freedom to act in various domains and, in turn, self-determination to influence the workplace. However, there is much to be done, and emerging research of significant interest is highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)542–559
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Management Reviews
Volume18
Issue number4
Early online date17 Jun 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

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Decision making
Marketing
Economics
Managerial decision making
Future directions
Neuroscience
Organizational behaviour

Bibliographical note

© 2015 The Authors. International Journal of Management Reviews published by British Academy of Management and John Wiley & Sons Ltd
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

Cite this

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abstract = "There is growing interest in exploring the potential links between human biology and management and organization studies, which is bringing greater attention to bear on the place of mental processes in explaining human behaviour and effectiveness. The authors define this new field as organizational cognitive neuroscience (OCN), which is in the exploratory phase of its emergence and diffusion. It is clear that there are methodological debates and issues associated with OCN research, and the aim of this paper is to illuminate these concerns, and provide a roadmap for rigorous and relevant future work in the area. To this end, the current reach of OCN is investigated by the systematic review methodology, revealing three clusters of activity, covering the fields of economics, marketing and organizational behaviour. Among these clusters, organizational behaviour seems to be an outlier, owing to its far greater variety of empirical work, which the authors argue is largely a result of the plurality of research methods that have taken root within this field. Nevertheless, all three clusters contribute to a greater understanding of the biological mechanisms that mediate choice and decision-making. The paper concludes that OCN research has already provided important insights regarding the boundaries surrounding human freedom to act in various domains and, in turn, self-determination to influence the workplace. However, there is much to be done, and emerging research of significant interest is highlighted.",
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