A future for organisational behaviour?
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to raise and critically analyse controversial issues facing the future directions of the academic discipline organisational behaviour (OB). Design/methodology/approach – Specifically, the commercial benefits for basic and applied OB research conducted by academics are considered. Arguments are advanced which cast doubt on the discipline'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 successful practice. Such shortcomings have the potential to render OB theories, research and recommended practices irrelevant in many commercial environments. Practical implications – Better integration is recommended between popularist management practices 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 this context, coarse grained theorising must be capable of verification in the field with tangible commercial benefits.Originality/value – Narrowing the theory-practice gulf requires a more concerted effort to embrace practitioner generated ideas to develop these into theories closely related to organisational concerns rather 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 OB is envisaged where hybridized theorizing and research are developed and communicated to a wider practitioner audience.
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