Critical essay : Organizational cognitive neuroscience drives theoretical progress, or : the curious case of the straw man murder

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Butler, Michael J. R. ; Lee, Nick ; Senior, Carl (2017)

In this critical essay, we respond to Lindebaum’s (2016) argument that neuroscientific methodologies and data have been accepted prematurely in proposing novel management theory. We acknowledge that building new management theories requires firm foundations. We also find his distinction between demand and supply side forces helpful as an analytical framework identifying the momentum for the contemporary production of management theory. Nevertheless, some of the arguments Lindebaum (2016) puts forward, on closer inspection, can be contested, especially those related to the supply side of organizational cognitive neuroscience (OCN) research: fMRI data, motherhood statements and ethical concerns. We put forward a more positive case for OCN methodologies and data, as well as clarifying exactly what OCN really means, and its consequences for the development of strong management theory.
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