A future for organisational behaviour?

P.J. Hosie, Roger Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to raise and critically analyse controversial issues facing thefuture directions of the academic discipline organisational behaviour (OB).Design/methodology/approach – Specifically, the commercial benefits for basic and applied OBresearch conducted by academics are considered. Arguments are advanced which cast doubt on thediscipline’s current directions.Findings – Proponents of traditional research in this field are accused of methodological myopia,inaccessibility, lack of relevance to practitioners and an inability to integrate research with successfulpractice. Such shortcomings have the potential to render OB theories, research and recommendedpractices irrelevant in many commercial environments.Practical implications – Better integration is recommended between popularist managementpractices and ideas with traditional research techniques to produce more business focussed outcomes.New modes of investigation are proposed which adopt dynamic research methodologies based on“coarse grained theorising” using the “3p” test of performance, productivity and profitability. In thiscontext, coarse grained theorising must be capable of verification in the field with tangible commercialbenefits.Originality/value – Narrowing the theory-practice gulf requires a more concerted effort to embracepractitioner generated ideas to develop these into theories closely related to organisational concernsrather than purely academic predilections. In this situation, only the most robust of existing theories,with utility for organisations, would survive and continue to be promulgated. A future scenario for OBis envisaged where hybridized theorizing and research are developed and communicated to a widerpractitioner audience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-232
JournalEuropean Business Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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