Management Department


Date of this Version



Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

February 2014 | Volume 8 | Article 84 |

doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00084


Copyright © 2014 Spain and Harms. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).


We critically examine the current biological models of individual organizational behavior, with particular emphasis on the roles of genetics and the brain. We demonstrate how approaches to biology in the organizational sciences assume that biological systems are simultaneously causal and essentially static; that genotypes exert constant effects. In contrast, we present a sociogenomic approach to organizational research, which could provide a meta-theoretical framework for understanding organizational behavior. Sociogenomics is an interactionist approach that derives power from its ability to explain how genes and environment operate. The key insight is that both genes and the environment operate by modifying gene expression. This leads to a conception of genetic and environmental effects that is fundamentally dynamic, rather than the static view of classical biometric approaches. We review biometric research within organizational behavior, and contrast these interpretations with a sociogenomic view. We provide a review of gene expression mechanisms that help explain the dynamism observed in individual organizational behavior, particularly factors associated with gene expression in the brain. Finally, we discuss the ethics of genomic and neuroscientific findings for practicing managers and discuss whether it is possible to practically apply these findings in management.