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Biology and Management: A Review, Critique, and Research Agenda


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In this article, we conduct a systematic review of the emerging literature on the biological perspective in management and investigate research spanning the areas of genetics, physiology, and neuroscience. We examine 291 papers published in 133 journals over an 85-year period as well as 10 conference/working papers and six books. On the basis of this analysis, we present an organizing framework of the area, explain the mechanisms through which biological factors relate to management, and discuss the implications of the biological perspective for the theory and the practice of management. Finally, we present an agenda highlighting avenues for future research in this field.
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Biology and Management: A Review, Critique, and Research Agenda
Ahmed Maged Nofal
Warwick Business School
Nicos Nicolaou
Warwick Business School
Noni Symeonidou
Warwick Business School
Scott Shane
Weatherhead School of Management
Supplemental material for this article is available at
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank the editor, Craig Wallace, and the two
anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful, supportive and developmental comments. We
would also like to thank Melina Kostoula, Manal Assal, Maged Nofal and Athanasios Siolos.
Corresponding author: Ahmed Maged Nofal, Coventry, CV4 7AL Gibbet Hill Rd., UK
In this article, we conduct a systematic review of the emerging literature on the biological
perspective in management and investigate research spanning the areas of genetics,
physiology and neuroscience. We examine 291 papers published in 133 journals over an 85-
year period, as well as ten conference/working papers and six books. Based on this analysis,
we present an organizing framework of the area, explain the mechanisms through which
biological factors relate to management, and discuss the implications of the biological
perspective for the theory and the practice of management. Finally, we present an agenda
highlighting avenues for future research in this field.
Keywords: Management; Genetics; Hormones; Physiology; Neuroscience
What do we know about the role of biology in management? The past decade has
witnessed a significant increase in the number of papers that address the ways that genetics,
physiology, and neuroscience affect different aspects of management. As a result, we know
far more than we once did.
However, our new knowledge is fragmented. Much of this research has been
published in journals that management scholars do not routinely follow, and the different
studies themselves have been isolated from one another making it difficult to see the
cumulative set of findings” (Shane, 2009: 67). Moreover, empirical work on the topic can be
found across a large number of journals and in numerous subfields of management, which
makes it difficult for management scholars to see how the same theoretical patterns are
present in different subfields. Most importantly, the field of management also lacks a
systematic discussion of how these individual findings relate to a broader theoretical
perspective on how biology influences management, the different mechanisms governing
each of these biological influences, and the links between them.
In response to this gap in the literature, we have systematically reviewed 291 papers
published in 133 journals, four conference papers, six working papers, and six books/book
chapters published over the past 85 years to review and synthesize the biological perspective
in management. Based on this analysis, we present an organizing framework of this area (see
figure 1) and explain the mechanisms through which biological factors relate to management.
Our review indicates that there has been a substantial amount of research on
biological aspects of business. However, there has been little research that connects the three
main biological strands to each other and no organizing framework for this biological
perspective. Moreover, extant research does not take into account how environment and
biology jointly interact to influence management. Previous work has also neglected dynamic
considerations, as evidenced by the lack of longitudinal studies. Furthermore, our review
shows that research on the implications of the biological perspective for the practice of
management is strikingly limited.
We begin our review by providing a detailed description of our methodology and
review strategy. Then, we systematically synthesize the findings of previous studies on the
biological perspective and describe the mechanisms through which biology relates to
management. Finally, we identify avenues for future research and discuss the implications of
the biological perspective for the practice of management.
Insert Figure 1 about here
We define the biological perspective on management as the set of studies that
examine: 1) genetic influences (Arvey, Li & Wang, 2016; Lindquist, Sol & Van Praag,
2015), 2) physiology (Heaphy & Dutton, 2008; White, Thornhill & Hampson, 2006), and 3)
neuroscience (Becker, Cropanzano & Sanfey, 2011; Waldman, Wang & Fenters, 2016a).
Taken together, these studies form the basis for a new school of thought that incorporates
human biology into explanations of management behavior (Shane, 2009).
Although the past few years have witnessed the emergence of efforts to synthesize
and review studies on each of the three subsets of biological factors, no reviews have sought
to bring those different subsets together into a broader biological perspective. Because
genetics, physiology and neuroscience jointly affect human behavior, it is important to
consider how these factors collectively influence management (Shane, 2009). By offering a
systematic review of these three areas, considering the mechanisms that govern each, and by
highlighting their effects together, we can begin to develop a comprehensive understanding
of how biology influences management.
Our review strategy is designed to provide a systematic and explicit method for
reviewing all three biological aspects in management research. First, we identified keywords
(search terms) related to the three biological factors which we then constructed into search
strings (see table S-1 in the online appendix). Second, we followed the protocols outlined by
Tranfield, Denyer and Smart (2003) for undertaking reviews in the field of management.
Using these protocols, we searched the following databases: ProQuest, Thomson ISI Web of
Knowledge and Scopus to ensure that we uncovered all relevant work. We then reviewed all
studies published in journals listed in the ABS
list to identify every possible article that
might be relevant to a review of the biological perspective on management.
While we began our effort to find articles written since 1900, the first article we found
was that of Carter (1932) on the possible influences of genes on occupational choices. We
included all articles written through the end of March 2017, the stop point for our study. We
exported all the papers to Endnote where the studies were screened using title and abstract
analysis to identify every paper that might be relevant to our topic. This effort yielded a total
of 335 articles and one book chapter. Of these articles, 164 were then excluded according to
our exclusion criteria (see table S-2 in the online appendix) leaving us with a total of 171
articles and one book chapter.
We then employed a backward and forward snowballing procedure by manually
searching the reference lists of all included studies. This additional procedure increased the
number of articles by 51 journal papers, 2 books, 2 conference papers and 1 working paper.
These journal articles were also screened according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria
using a title and abstract analysis. By following this approach, our review was not limited to
specific journals or authors who publish in this area, but included all articles cited by or
which cited work in this area. This procedure is a precondition for a complete and exhaustive
summary of the literature (Tranfield et al., 2003).
Finally, to ensure that we did not miss any articles, we included several papers based
on experts’ opinions. We showed our list of articles to three experts in the field and asked
them to identify any papers that our procedure had failed to identify. This additional step
yielded 5 more papers on genetics, 41 on physiology and 23 on neuroscience. It also provided
two conference papers, 5 additional working papers, and 3 book chapters/books. After
validating the search criteria against the retrieved papers, our overall search yielded a total
number of 291 published journal articles, 4 conference papers, 6 working papers and 6
books/book chapters (see table 1).
Insert Table 1 about here
The results of our review show that the biological perspective has been studied in a
number of subfields of management (see table S-3 in the online appendix). We show key
journals contributing to the review in terms of their coverage of this area in figure S-1 in the
online appendix. The review shows that 56% of the studies are empirical and 44% are
conceptual. The majority of retrieved articles focused on neuroscience (115 papers), followed
by physiology (109 papers), and genetics (77 papers). There are also two book chapters
focusing on neuroscience, two book chapters as well as a full book investigating the role of
genetics in management and one book examining the different biological predispositions to
organizational behavior.
Findings of Genetics
A large number of the studies on the biological perspective focused on the role of
genetics in management. In this review, we define research on genetics as the set of studies
that examine the influence of factors that are encoded in DNA and transmitted biologically
(Nicolaou & Shane, 2009: 2) on management behavior. Management scholars have sought to
examine the genetic predispositions to management through two methods: (1) a quantitative
genetics approach and (2) a molecular genetics approach. Our review shows that 77 percent
of the genetics studies in management took a quantitative genetics approach, while 23 percent
adopted a molecular genetics approach.
Quantitative genetics. The quantitative genetics approach identifies the relative
proportion of the variance in a variable and the covariance between multiple variables that
can be attributed to genetic and environmental differences (Plomin, DeFries, Knopik &
Neiderhiser, 2012). With this approach, researchers have been able to disentangle the
contributions of genes and environment across a wide variety of organizational phenotypes
using experiments of nature, specifically studies of twins, and experiments of nurture,
particularly studies of adoptees (Shane & Nicolaou, 2015a). In addition, this approach has
recently started to examine how the relative contributions of genetic and environmental
factors can change over time (Arvey et al., 2016; Li, Stanek, Zhang, Ones & McGue, 2016b).
The classical twin design compares the phenotypic resemblance between pairs of
monozygotic and dizygotic twins to examine whether the phenotype is heritable (Polderman
et al., 2015). A failure to detect differences between monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs
resemblance in a phenotype would indicate that genetic factors do not play any role in
explaining the variance of this phenotype. But if the resemblance between monozygotic twins
is higher than the resemblance between dizygotic twins, then genetic factors influence this
phenotype (Nicolaou, Shane, Cherkas, Hunkin & Spector, 2008a). This natural experiment
draws on the fact that monozygotic twins are developed from one ovum fertilized by one
sperm, unlike dizygotic twins who are developed from two ova fertilized by two different
sperms. As a result, monozygotic twins are genetically identical and dizygotic twins share, on
average, 50% of their segregating genetic makeup (Plomin et al., 2012).
Studies of adopted children also enable researchers to examine the heritability of
organizational phenotypes. Adopted children carry the genes of their biological parents and
are exposed to the environment of their adoptive parents. The phenotypic resemblance
between children and their two sets of parents indicates the extent to which this phenotype is
inherited. If there is a phenotypic resemblance between children and their biological parents,
then genetic factors influence this phenotype. Meanwhile, if there is a phenotypic
resemblance between the children and their adoptive parents, then environmental factors
affect this phenotype. By comparing both correlations, researchers can examine the extent to
which genetic and environmental factors influence management phenotypes.
Twin studies have demonstrated that there are genetic predispositions to numerous
management phenotypes, such as the tendency to engage in entrepreneurship (Nicolaou et al.,
2008a; Nicolaou, Shane, Cherkas & Spector, 2009; Shane, Nicolaou, Cherkas & Spector,
2010b; Zhang et al., 2009b), opportunity recognition (Nicolaou et al., 2009; Shane, Nicolaou,
Cherkas & Spector, 2010a), leadership role occupancy (Arvey, Rotundo, Johnson, Zhang &
McGue, 2006; Arvey, Zhang, Avolio & Krueger, 2007; Johnson, Vernon, McCarthy, Molson,
Harris & Jang, 1998; Li, Arvey, Zhang & Song, 2012), leadership emergence (Chaturvedi,
Zyphur, Arvey, Avolio & Larsson, 2012; Ilies, Gerhardt & Le, 2004), transformational
leadership (Chaturvedi, Arvey, Zhang & Christoforou, 2011), job demands, job control,
social support at work, job complexity (Li, Zhang, Song & Arvey, 2016a), behavioral
anomalies (Cesarini, Johannesson, Magnusson & Wallace, 2012), income (Zyphur, Li,
Zhang, Arvey & Barsky, 2015) and job satisfaction (Arvey, Bouchard, Segal & Abraham,
1989; Hahn, Gottschling, König & Spinath, 2016; Ilies & Judge, 2003; Judge, Ilies & Zhang,
2012) (see figure S-2 in the online appendix). Three studies used samples of adoptees to
show the heritability of an organizational phenotype: vocational interests (Betsworth et al.,
1994), occupational status (Scarr & Weinberg, 1994), and entrepreneurial tendencies
(Lindquist et al., 2015).
The findings of the quantitative genetics research have shown that genetic factors can
explain, on average, the variances of organizational phenotypes in a range from 20 percent to
60 percent. In addition, most of the work suggests that shared environmental factors
(environmental influences that twins in the same family have in common) account for
negligible amounts of variances in organizational phenotypes, unlike unique environmental
factors (environmental effects that differ from one twin to another) which were found
consistently to be very influential. Simply put, the most important factor affecting the
organizational phenotypes that people display is the non-shared environment, followed by
their genetics.
Although studies of twins and adoptees have been successful in revealing the genetic
influences on organizational phenotypes, these methods do not detect the specific genetic
variants that contribute to the variations in these phenotypes. For that researchers must
conduct molecular genetics studies.
Molecular genetics. The molecular genetics approach provides two powerful
methods for identifying the specific genetic variants that influence organizational
phenotypes: candidate-gene and genome-wide association (GWA) methods. The candidate
gene approach is a hypothesis-driven design in which certain genes are, a priori, hypothesized
to influence the variable under examination. Candidate-gene studies propose that a particular
gene influences management based on its function. For instance, if genes influence certain
physiological patterns associated with management phenotypes, researchers can hypothesize
that these predictor genes can affect their associated management phenotypes (Munafò,
Studies using the candidate-gene method have shown that the dopamine receptor
genes are associated with entrepreneurship (Nicolaou, Shane, Adi, Mangino & Harris, 2011),
leadership (Li, Wang, Arvey, Soong, Saw & Song, 2015), job changes (Chi, Li, Wang &
Song, 2016), job satisfaction (Song, Li & Arvey, 2011), and exploration and exploitation
(Frank, Doll, Oas-Terpstra & Moreno, 2009). Further evidence has also shown that the
serotonin transporter genes are associated with corporate corruption (Kong, 2014) and job
satisfaction (Song et al., 2011). The long-repeat polymorphism of the AVPR1a RS3
microsatellite was also associated with entrepreneurship (Wernerfelt, Rand, Dreber,
Montgomery & Malhotra, 2012).
On the other hand, the genome-wide approach is a hypothesis-free design that
involves investigating the entire genome (Koellinger et al., 2010; Yeo, 2011). It uses
microarrays to genotype millions of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on small chips
in order to locate the genetic variants influencing organizational phenotypes (Plomin et al.,
2012; Shane & Nicolaou, 2015a).
Increasingly, researchers are turning to genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to
identify the genetic variants affecting management (Koellinger et al., 2010; Quaye, Nicolaou,
Shane & Mangino, 2012b; van der Loos, Koellinger, Groenen & Thurik, 2010; van der Loos
et al., 2013) because genetic research has shown that (1) GWAS are better than candidate-
gene studies in detecting very small effect size genes expected for complex phenotypes in
management without pre-hypotheses, and (2) they perform better in dealing with the
polygenic nature of management phenotypes, where most phenotypes are influenced by a
large number of genes rather than by a single gene. For example, in a GWAS, researchers
have found an association between the rs10791283 of the OPCML gene on chromosome
11q25 and entrepreneurship at the 6 X 10-7 genome-wide significance level, which did not
reach the 10-8 level of significance required for GWAS (Quaye et al., 2012b).
The molecular genetic studies show that organizational phenotypes are both polygenic
and pleiotropic (Song, Li & Wang, 2015). Polygenic means that a very large number of genes
are required to influence an organizational phenotype. For example, Belsky et al. (2016)
found that polygenic scores derived from a GWAS predicted economic outcomes. Pleiotropic
means that the same gene that influences one variable may also influence another; e.g.
serotonin transporter genes have been associated with both job satisfaction (Song et al., 2011)
and corporate corruption (Kong, 2014). .
Findings of Physiology
The second strand of the biological perspective has examined the role of physiology
in management. Physiology is “the study of the normal functioning of a living organism and
its component parts, including all its chemical and physical processes” (Silverthorn, 2001: 2)
. In this review, we define research on physiology as the set of studies that examine the
relationship between hormones, physical characteristics, medical conditions and dimensions
of management. The systematic review has retrieved a total of 109 papers on physiology and
3 books/book chapters.
Hormones. The first stream of research in the physiology strand has examined the
influence of hormones in management. The most common hormones investigated in the
social sciences include: (1) testosterone, (2) dopamine, (3) oxytocin, (4) serotonin and (5)
cortisol (Narayanan & Prasad, 2015). However, within the field of management, empirical
studies have only looked at two of these five hormones: 25 studies examined testosterone,
while 12 studies have looked at cortisol
. This research has found significant associations
between testosterone and numerous organizational phenotypes, such as entrepreneurial
intention (Bönte, Procher & Urbig, 2015), self-employment (Greene, Han, Martin, Zhang &
Wittert, 2014; Nicolaou, Patel & Wolfe, in press; White et al., 2006), earnings (Gielen,
Holmes & Myers, 2016), leaders' corruption (Bendahan, Zehnder, Pralong & Antonakis,
2015), entrepreneurial performance (Unger, Rauch, Narayanan, Weis & Frese, 2009; Unger,
Rauch, Weis & Frese, 2015), perceived empathic accuracy (Ronay & Carney, 2013) and firm
performance (Trahms, Coombs & Barrick, 2010) (see figure S-3 in the online appendix).
These findings reveal that testosterone is an important, but often overlooked, factor in
explaining power and status in organizations, by driving people’s need to acquire additional
resources and by stimulating competitive and retaliatory behaviors (Narayanan & Prasad,
Prior studies have also found a positive relationship between cortisol and work stress
(Karlson, Eek, Hansen, Garde & Ørbaek, 2011), and a negative relationship between cortisol
and leader’s position (Sherman et al., 2012) as well as attained status in male executives
(Sherman, Lerner, Josephs, Renshon & Gross, 2016). The influence of cortisol is “a double-
edged sword” in the sense that cortisol may impair people’s ability to perform and attenuate
overall organizational effectiveness, but at the same time increase the likelihood that people
attain leadership positions (Diebig, Bormann & Rowold, 2016: 684). Indeed, cortisol research
has been rich in providing explanations about how managers handle stress in organizations
and why some leaders perform better than others (Diebig et al., 2016; Mehta & Josephs,
While no research in management has examined the association between management
and oxytocin, dopamine or serotonin, some studies have suggested potential relationships.
For instance, oxytocin has been associated with self-esteem (Saphire-Bernstein, Way, Kim,
Sherman & Taylor, 2011), which is a key predictor of several management phenotypes
(Arora, Haynie & Laurence, 2013; Judge & Bono, 2001), including entrepreneurship and job
satisfaction. In another example, dopamine has been associated with sensation seeking
(Nicolaou et al., 2011), which is associated with entrepreneurship (Nicolaou, Shane, Cherkas
& Spector, 2008b).
Physical characteristics. The second stream of research in the physiology strand has
examined the role of physical characteristics in management. Physical characteristics include
“height, weight, physique, athletic, prowess, energy and energy level” (Arvey, Wang, Song &
Li, 2014: 12). The systematic review has retrieved 33 empirical papers and 10 conceptual
papers linking physical characteristics to management.
Empirical evidence has shown that physical characteristics including physical
attractiveness and facial cues influence management phenotypes, such as entrepreneurial
performance (Baron, Markman & Bollinger, 2006) and leadership (Alrajih & Ward, 2014;
Doll et al., 2014; Little, 2014; Little, Burriss, Jones & Roberts, 2007; Re, DeBruine, Jones &
Perrett, 2013; Re & Perrett, 2014). Researchers have also found a relationship between body
weight (Agerstrom & Rooth, 2011; Cawley, 2004; Re, Dzhelyova, Holzleitner, Tigue,
Feinberg & Perrett, 2012) and voice (Klofstad, Anderson & Nowicki, 2015; Klofstad,
Anderson & Peters, 2012; Klofstad, Nowicki & Anderson, 2016) and various organizational
phenotypes. For instance, Re et al. (2012) found that there is a negative relationship between
leadership and body weight, explaining that a higher body mass index (BMI) raises negative
perceptions about leaders’ abilities which in turn influences their leadership. Klofstad et al.
(2015) found that individuals with lower-pitched voices are perceived as strong, competent,
and having high physical prowess and thus more likely to be selected as leaders than their
The most studied physical characteristics were facial cues (19 studies) followed by
body weight (7 studies). Facial cues and attractiveness were frequently related to leadership
(Alrajih & Ward, 2014; Little, 2014; Little et al., 2007; Olivola, Eubanks & Lovelace, 2014),
while body weight was related to hiring, earnings and leadership. Other work has linked
management-related phenotypes, including employment, leadership and job satisfaction to
mouth width (1 study), body image (1 study), skin color (2 studies), voice pitch (2 studies)
and height (3 studies).
Medical conditions. The third stream of research in the physiology strand has
examined the role of medical conditions in management, including cardiovascular factors,
diabetes and musculoskeletal conditions. The systematic review has retrieved 20 empirical
and 9 conceptual papers. For instance, blood pressure (Ganster & Rosen, 2013; Ilies,
Dimotakis & Watson, 2010; Lundberg & Frankenhaeuser, 1999; Melin, Lundberg, Soderlund
& Granqvist, 1999), cardiovascular problems (Ganster, Fox & Dwyer, 2001; Ganster &
Rosen, 2013; Matteson & Ivancevich, 1979; Schaubroeck, Ganster & Kemmerer, 1994;
Schaubroeck & Merritt, 1997; Steffy & Jones, 1988), pain fluctuations (Christian, Eisenkraft
& Kapadia, 2014) and musculoskeletal disorders (Manville, Akremi, Niezborala &
Mignonac, 2016) were associated with workload, work stress and other occupational
The most studied medical conditions were heart problems (20 studies), which were
mostly associated with occupational and workplace factors. Other work has linked
management-related phenotypes to diabetes (2 studies), occupational injuries (1 study), and
musculoskeletal disorders (1 study). In combination, these findings reveal the role of medical
conditions in influencing several work outcomes, including career choices, workload, job
satisfaction and income.
Findings of Neuroscience
The third strand of the biological perspective focuses on the relationship between
neuroscience and management (Hannah, Balthazard, Waldman, Jennings & Thatcher, 2013;
Waldman, Balthazard & Peterson, 2011). This strand examines how neuroscience can
broaden our understanding of people at work and organizing processes” (Waldman, Ward &
Becker, 2016b: 9.2). “It involves the study of processes within the brain that underlie or
influence human decisions, behaviors, and interactions either (a) within organizations or (b)
in response to organizational manifestations or institutions.” (Butler & Senior, 2007; Ward,
Volk & Becker, 2015: 19). This is the most prominent area of the biological perspective as
evidenced by the number of studies identified in our review (115 papers).
Although scholars in entrepreneurship (de Holan, 2013; Nicolaou & Shane, 2013),
leadership (Hannah et al., 2013), human resource management (Becker, Volk & Ward, 2015)
and other management areas (Becker et al., 2011; Butler, O'Broin, Lee & Senior, 2016) have
started to recognize the value of neuro-scientific methods to organizational disciplines, it is
surprising that we know very little about the role of neuroscience in management, as the
literature is mainly conceptual: out of the 115 retrieved studies, we found 25 empirical
articles incorporating neuroscience into management research.
Nevertheless, the empirical papers do show some patterns. Researchers have found
that people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
(Thurik, Khedhaouria,
Torrès & Verheul, 2016; Verheul, Block, Burmeister-Lamp, Thurik, Tiemeier & Turturea,
2015; Verheul, Rietdijk, Block, Franken, Larsson & Thurik, 2016; Wiklund, Patzelt &
Dimov, 2016) and dyslexia (Logan, 2009) have a higher tendency to engage in
entrepreneurial activities.
Other empirical studies have shown several associations between neurological
activations in the brain and management. For instance, Dulebohn, Davison, Lee, Conlon,
McNamara and Sarinopoulos (2016) found that the activations of the insula, ventral striatum,
ventromedial prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex regions of the brain are
associated with procedural justice, while the activations of the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex
and the precuneus/posterior cingulate regions are related to distributive justice, with these
findings varying from males to females.
In leadership, Waldman et al. (2011) found that the right frontal coherence is
associated with the formation of a socialized visionary communication, which in turn builds
followers’ perceptions of the leader’s inspirational capabilities. In another leadership study,
Boyatzis et al. (2012) found that recalling experiences with resonant leaders was associated
with the activation of regions such as the bilateral insula, right inferior parietal lobe, and left
superior temporal gyrus, while recalling experiences with dissonant leaders limited the
activations of the right anterior cingulate cortex and positively activated the right inferior
frontal gyrus, bilateral posterior region of the inferior frontal gyrus, and bilateral inferior
frontal gyrus/insula. Other qEEG findings have shown that being exposed to an inspirational
leader activates the bilateral rostral inferior parietal lobule, pars opercularis, and posterior
midcingulate cortex, while being exposed to a non-inspirational leader activates the medial
prefrontal cortex (Molenberghs, Prochilo, Steffens, Zacher & Haslam, 2015).
Researchers have also demonstrated that the lateral occipital cortex, superior temporal
cortex, medial parietal, subgenual cingulate, nucleus accumbens, and left lateral prefrontal
cortex are activated by affect that may be provided by inspirational coaching and mentoring
(Jack, Boyatzis, Khawaja, Passarelli & Leckie, 2013). Hannah et al. (2013) also found that a
lower level of EEG coherence in the alpha frequency range in the frontal lobes is associated
with greater adaptive decision-making, suggesting that both the frontal lobes in the brain and
the adaptive decision-making are related to leader self-complexity. Other evidence has shown
a significant correlation between job demand and oxygenated hemoglobin changes in the left
dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in females, while greater changes in the right temporal cortex
were observed among males (Kawasaki et al., 2015). Moreover, Waldman, Wang, Hannah
and Balthazard (in press) found that the interaction of leader relativism and idealism partially
mediates the influence of the brains’ default mode network on ethical leadership.
In entrepreneurship, using fMRI, researchers found that entrepreneurs showed higher
decision-making efficiency, and a stronger activation in regions of frontopolar cortex than
managers (Laureiro-Martinez et al., 2014). Activations of the ventral tegmental area,
substantia nigra, ventral striatum, nucleus accumbens, and ventro medial prefrontal cortex
brain regions were associated with exploration. On the other hand, activations of the
dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, locus coeruleus-norepinephrine circuit, frontopolar cortex and
inferior parietal lobule were associated with exploitation (Laureiro-Martínez, Brusoni,
Canessa & Zollo, 2015).
In this section, we explain the mechanisms through which biological factors may
affect management: direct effects, mediation through psychological factors and attitudes,
biology X environment interactions, biology X environment correlations, interactions within
biological strands and interactions between biological strands. The overall pattern is
presented in figure 2.
Insert Figure 2 about here
1. Direct Effects
Biology may directly influence management. For instance, blood pressure problems,
increased heart rate, immune system disorders and coronary heart diseases may result in poor
productivity and high job turnover rates (Ganster & Rosen, 2013; Zhang & Zyphur, 2015).
Evidence also indicates that genetic factors may act as antecedents to other biological factors
that influence management. Nicolaou and Shane (2009) argued that genetic factors may
affect hormones, brain functions, and appearance, which in turn influence management. For
instance, researchers have suggested that genetically influenced testosterone may influence
the tendency of people to engage in entrepreneurship (Shane & Nicolaou, 2015a; White et al.,
2006; Zhang & Zyphur, 2015). In physiology, Zhang and Zyphur (2015) have indicated that
variations in hormone levels are related to cardiovascular processes and changes in the
functioning of the immune system which may affect work outcomes, such as burnout and
2. Mediation through Psychological factors and attitudes
Biology may influence management through psychological factors and attitudes. In
genetics, research has shown that genes may influence entrepreneurship, leadership,
vocational interests, work values, job switching, and job satisfaction by affecting individual
attributes, such as psychological traits, attitudes, and preferences (Arvey et al., 2016; Shane
& Nicolaou, 2015a). Numerous studies have shown that neuroticism, extraversion,
conscientiousness, openness to experience, agreeableness (Shane et al., 2010a, b; Zhang et
al., 2009b), proactivity (Li, 2011), rule breaking (Li et al., 2015) and cognitive abilities
(Arvey et al., 2006; Chaturvedi et al., 2011; Schermer, Johnson, Jang & Vernon, 2015; Shane
& Nicolaou, 2015b) mediated the relationships between genes and organizational
In physiology, researchers have suggested, for instance, that hormones may influence
people’s attitudes toward competition, fairness, and trust which in turn affect organizational
decision making (Narayanan & Prasad, 2015). There is also some evidence that hormones
affect people’s choice to become entrepreneurs. White et al. (2006) found that testosterone
influences the tendency of individuals to become self-employed through risk taking. In line
with this evidence, Bönte et al. (2015) indicated that the relationship between prenatal
testosterone exposure and entrepreneurial intention is mediated by both general risk-taking
and domain specific risk taking (e.g. professional career and financial investment).
Consistently, researchers have shown that positive affect mediates the effect of
entrepreneurs’ physical attractiveness on the evaluation of their ideas (Baron et al., 2006).
Similarly, several scholars have found that facial cues influence people’s beliefs which in
turn affect leadership choice, and occupational success. For instance, Little (2014) suggested
that leaders are partly chosen based on their faces as people believe that certain facial cues
reflect specific abilities that are well suited for particular leading positions.
In neuroscience, Hannah et al. (2013) have suggested that the influence of the frontal
lobes of the brain on leadership adaptability may be mediated by leaders’ psychological self-
complexity. In another recent qEEG study, Waldman et al. (in press) found that the role of
brains’ default mode network in predicting ethical leadership may be mediated by the
interaction of leader relativism and idealism.
3. Biology X Environment interactions
The biological influence on management may be contingent on the presence of
environmental factors. In genetics, research has labeled this pathway as gene X environment
interaction (Rowe, 2003). Researchers, for instance, have found that genetic factors interact
with social environment to influence the tendency of people to occupy leadership roles
(Zhang, Ilies & Arvey, 2009a) and that unfavorable family environment in childhood lowers
the genetic influence on entrepreneurship in adulthood (Zhang & Ilies, 2010). Chi et al.
(2016) have also demonstrated that early life environments and dopamine genes interact to
influence later job changes. Findings indicate that in gene X environment interaction studies,
education, family and social environment as well as socioeconomic status interacted with
genetic factors to influence various management-related phenotypes, including
entrepreneurship (Quaye, Nicolaou, Shane & Harris, 2012a), job changes (Chi et al., 2016)
and leadership (Zhang & Ilies, 2010; Zhang et al., 2009a).
In physiology, research has indicated, for instance, that the interaction between
chronic pain and perceived organizational support influences citizenship behavior, work
intensity and effectiveness as well as task performance (Byrne & Hochwarter, 2006).
Specifically, higher levels of perceived organizational support decreased the adverse
influences of chronic pain on occupational performance.
4. Biology X Environment correlation
Researchers have suggested that biology may play a role in people selecting particular
environments that in turn influence their behavior. This implies that the environment that
people face is partly endogenously influenced by their biology. In genetics, this mechanism is
called gene X environment correlation (Nicolaou & Shane, 2009). There are three main types
of gene X environment correlations: passive, evocative and active (Plomin et al., 2012; Shane
& Nicolaou, 2015a). A passive gene X environment correlation occurs when people are
exposed to inherited environments that are compatible with their genetic makeup. This
correlation may lead to an association between genetic and environmental factors which in
turn influence various organizational phenotypes. For example, a person with “leadership
genes” would be more likely to have parents who would provide both the genes and an
environment that is supportive of leadership.
An evocative gene X environment correlation suggests that people may evoke
reactions from other people on the basis of their genetic tendencies. For instance, people with
genes that predispose them to leadership may evoke more positive reactions from people
looking for others to lead various projects and organizations.
An active gene X environment correlation demonstrates that people may select or
create environments that are compatible with their genetic makeup. For example, a person
with genes that predispose them to leadership may engage in situations where leadership is
required, and develop leadership capabilities through acting as a leader.
Although researchers have explained that genetic and environmental factors may
correlate to influence management (Arvey et al., 2016; Lykken, Bouchard, McGue &
Tellegen, 1993; Nicolaou & Shane, 2009; Shane & Nicolaou, 2015a), only one study has
found evidence for this mechanism (see table S-4 in online appendix). Specifically, Li et al.
(2016a) have suggested that, over time, individuals are gravitated to jobs with specific
environmental conditions to satisfy their genetic makeup.
In physiology, current evidence suggests that environmental factors, particularly job
demands and job controls, play a mediating role in the association between individuals’
physiological well-being (i.e. cortisol and cortisone hormone levels as well as cardiovascular
problems) and leadership role occupancy (Li & Xie, 2013).
5. Interactions within Biological strands
The existing literature has also revealed evidence for interactions within biological
strands, such as interactions between genes - a mechanism that researchers have labeled gene
X gene interactions (Polderman et al., 2015), interactions between hormones a mechanism
labeled hormone X hormone interactions, and interactions between different brain regions.
Research, for instance, has suggested that genes may jointly interact to influence
management outcomes such as job satisfaction (Song et al., 2011). Researchers have also
shown that cortisol and testosterone jointly interact to influence attained status in male
executives (Sherman et al., 2016). In another study, Mehta and Josephs (2010) indicated that
high levels of cortisol diminish the influence of testosterone on dominance. Moreover,
neuroscience studies have also found that the interactions between the orbitofrontal cortex,
the anterior cingulate cortex, and the locus coeruleus may modulate attention, which
influences exploration and exploitation decisions (Aston-Jones & Cohen, 2005; Laureiro-
Martínez, Brusoni & Zollo, 2010).
6. Interactions between Biological strands
Different biological strands may also interact to influence management. Epigenetics
demonstrates that biological and environmental stimuli may modify genes transcription.
Studies have suggested that biological factors, such as hormones and neuroscience, may play
a key interactive role in the modification of such genes (Caspi & Moffitt, 2006; Zhang &
Meaney, 2010). However, we did not find any studies examining epigenetics in management.
Frank et al. (2009) have also suggested that the dopaminergic genes interact with the
prefrontal cortex region of the brain to influence individuals’ exploration and exploitation
decisions. This relationship is mediated in two steps, first, by the interaction between the
stratium region of the brain and reinforcement learning environments and, then, the dopamine
hormone which influences exploration and exploitation. Thus, different mechanisms can
jointly shape managerial behavior.
Our organizing framework (figure 1) highlights the three strands of the biological
perspective, shows the constituents of each, and maps the distribution of studies across them.
Importantly, this review uncovers several mechanisms (figure 2) through which biology
influences management. However, we argue that, to fulfill the potential of this perspective,
all aspects must be integrated, something that has not happened to date. As we mentioned, the
mechanisms explaining these relationships suggest that biological factors are not mutually
exclusive and the mechanisms that govern the influence of one biological factor on
management involve other biological factors.
Our review reveals that genetic factors explain more than one-third of the variance in
many phenotypes, such as work values (Arvey, McCall, Bouchard, Taubman & Cavanaugh,
1994), creativity (Shane & Nicolaou, 2015b), job switching (McCall, Cavanaugh, Arvey &
Taubman, 1997), transactional leadership (Johnson et al., 1998) and the propensity to engage
in entrepreneurship (Nicolaou et al., 2008a). The genetic influences are both polygenic and
pleiotropic, and the influence of a single genetic polymorphism is very small, reflecting the
complex architecture of management phenotypes.
To date, physiological variables have played a peripheral role in the study of
management (Zhang & Zyphur, 2015) but as Heaphy and Dutton (2008) argue, management
research that does not take into account the role of physiology is incomplete. However,
relatively few physiological characteristics and relatively few outcomes have been explored.
In addition, the majority of studies in the hormones stream of research have focused on the
effects of just one hormone, testosterone, with relatively fewer studies examining the effects
of cortisol. Furthermore, there have been no studies examining the effects of oxytocin,
serotonin, or dopamine.
A small literature now shows that brain function is associated with managerial
behavior, as demonstrated by neuroscience studies in leadership, decision-making,
entrepreneurship, and work stress. Studies have also examined the influence of ADHD and
dyslexia on managerial outcomes. While relatively few aspects of management have been
explored empirically, with leadership being the most prevalent, this literature has provided a
“theoretical basis as to the choice of neurological variables that one might incorporate” in the
study of neuroscience and management (Waldman et al., 2016b: 9.13).
The lack of research in this area is puzzling. We are all biological creatures and our
biology affects all aspects of our behavior, including our work. By ignoring our biology,
management researchers are missing an important part of the explanation for managerial
The biological perspective has several theoretical implications. It improves our
understanding of how biological factors moderate the influence of environmental factors in
influencing work outcomes. It extends existing theories in organizational behavior by
identifying how psychological traits and attitudes mediate the influence of biology. It also
enhances our understanding of the antecedents of environmental factors, by showing that
these are often biologically influenced, a finding called nature of nurture (Arvey et al., 2016;
Plomin & Bergeman, 1991).
The biological perspective has some important implications for the practice of
management. The biological perspective may affect career coaching and may help
organizations provide individualized practices suited to the different distinctive abilities of
their personnel (Arvey et al., 2016; Lawler, 1974; Rousseau, 2005). For instance, drawing on
the finding that ADHD has a positive influence on entrepreneurial activities, organizations
may encourage people with ADHD to pursue such careers.
The biological perspective may also deliver insights to policy makers by revealing the
environmental factors moderating the biological influences on management. Understanding
those factors would allow policy makers to know how to reinforce positive interactions and
minimize negative ones.
In addition, by knowing the architecture of physiological conditions, organizations
may change various job features to diminish any negative influences at work. For instance,
because high workloads increase cardiovascular risks in employees, it might be valuable to
identify the job features that attenuate the negative influences of high workloads (Ilies,
Dimotakis & De Pater, 2010). This line of research would also have the potential to answer
various enquiries in the occupational health and safety literature, such as “the links between
occupational health and safety and human resource strategies” (Zanko & Dawson, 2012:
The biological perspective may also provide organizations with strategies to
maximize corporate venturing activities. For example, researchers found that genetic factors
account for 82 percent of the covariance between creativity and the tendency towards
entrepreneurship (Shane & Nicolaou, 2015b) and 46% of the covariance between sensation
seeking and the tendency to engage in entrepreneurship (Nicolaou et al., 2008b). As
environmental factors account for a greater part of the covariance between sensation seeking
and entrepreneurship than between creativity and entrepreneurship (e.g. 54% and 18%
respectively), efforts to influence sensation seeking would be more effective than efforts to
influence creativity in affecting entrepreneurship.
However, several challenges face this area of research. These include (1) the
challenges of conducting interdisciplinary research (Bromham, Dinnage & Hua, 2016), (2)
the difficulties of generating heritability estimates in the presence of gene-environment
interactions and correlations (Arvey et al., 2016), (3) small effect sizes, (4) endogeneity issues,
(5) experimental conditions in neuroscientific experiments, and (6) issues of reverse inference
in fMRI studies (Poldrack, 2006). Scholars will need to address these issues in their study
designs to move our collective understanding of the biological influences on management
Our review suggests several areas for future research. First, more explanatory factors
and more outcome variables should be examined empirically. The review shows that research
in this area is characterized by being highly conceptual with limited empirical evidence. It is
time to further this area of research by conducting more empirical studies.
Second, it is unlikely that much managerial behavior is explained solely by human
biology. Because most managerial behavior is likely accounted for by the interaction of
human biology and environmental factors, additional research should empirically investigate
how environment and biology interplay to influence management. Although research has
suggested plausible mechanisms through which these factors jointly influence management,
we have little empirical evidence of those interactions.
Third, biological factors are not mutually exclusive and may jointly interact to
influence management behavior. Future research should explore those interactions. For
example, future research should consider how hormones mediate genetic predispositions and
in turn trigger physiological effects to influence management. Similarly, studies should
explore how genes interact with environmental factors, such as occupational threat,
stimulating the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis to trigger the stress hormone “cortisol,
which, in turn, may affect managerial outcomes, such as leadership. Finally, future genetics
work should draw from neuroscience research for the formulation of gene-environment
interaction hypotheses (Caspi & Moffitt, 2006).
Fourth, additional research on the psychological factors and attitudes that mediate the
relationship between biology (genetics, physiology and neuroscience) and management is
encouraged. Additional mediators can advance our understanding of the theoretical
mechanisms through which the influence of biological factors on management is manifested.
Fifth, researchers should incorporate epigenetics into the study of the biological
perspective. Numerous epigenetics mechanisms have been uncovered over the past decade,
such as DNA methylation, DNA hydroxymethylation, and histone modifications like
acetylation, phosphorylation, and sumoylation (Zhang & Meaney, 2010). These mechanisms
reveal that environmental factors may alter people’s genetic, physiological and neurological
Sixth, researchers should think about the effects of biological factors more
dynamically. In this domain, few longitudinal studies have been conducted. Longitudinal
studies would reveal how biological influences can change over time. For instance, genetic
influences on leadership could change with age, given evidence of age-related changes in the
heritability of job satisfaction (Li et al., 2016b) and other behavioral measures in the sciences
(Bergen, Gardner & Kendler, 2007).
Additional research pertaining to each area is also needed. For example, in genetics,
we encourage further research using bivariate and multivariate genetic techniques that
explore shared genetic influences between management-related phenotypes. Genome-wide
association studies using very large samples are also needed to advance molecular genetic
research in management. Nuclear twin family models, which are an improvement over the
classical twin model as they incorporate more family information about twins, their parents,
and siblings, are also encouraged, as they can provide more accurate parameters for the
decomposition of genetic and environmental influences (Zyphur, Zhang, Barsky & Li, 2013).
Studies identifying gene-environment correlations in organizational settings are also needed.
In physiology, research is needed to empirically examine the influence of oxytocin,
dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin, as studies in management have only examined
empirically the role of testosterone and cortisol. Additional work is also needed to examine
how hormones interact with each other, such as the dual hormone hypothesis that emphasized
the combined effects of testosterone and cortisol in regulating dominance (Mehta and
Josephs, 2010). Future work could also examine physiological responses at the group level,
while additional research is required to examine how organizational interventions can
moderate the influence of physiological processes on managerial outcomes.
In neuroscience, future research should also incorporate neuroscience techniques into
the study of teams. As management outcomes are highly dependent on interactions between
individuals, researchers are encouraged to use neuroscience techniques, such as qEEG, to
examine interactions between employees, such as interpersonal conflicts and
negative/positive affect (Waldman et al., 2016b).
Further research pertaining to each management area including entrepreneurship and
organizational behavior is also urged. For instance, in entrepreneurship, work employing a
biological perspective is needed to examine topics such as entrepreneurial biases (Zhang &
Cueto, 2017: 2), fear of failure (Cacciotti, Hayton, Mitchell & Giazitzoglu, 2016), and
entrepreneurs’ thinking styles, skills and goal commitment (Bönte et al., 2015). In
organizational behavior, additional research is needed on the biological underpinnings of
human resource management and work design (Arvey et al., 2016) including GWAS and
fMRI studies.
Much progress has been made in research on the biological perspective over the past
years that has enriched our understanding of various organizational phenomena. Yet, many
gaps about the underpinnings linking biology to management remain. This review has
systematically provided a summary of what has been achieved in this area of research and has
offered a number of directions to take the field forward. We hope that this work may inspire
additional research in this area to further our understanding of management.
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The Association of Business School’s Academic Journal Guide (ABS, 2015) provides a list
of 1401 journals in different business areas.
Although ‘biology’ and ‘physiology’ are sometimes used interchangeably, biology is the
study of living organisms, divided into various sub-disciplines, such as anatomy,
immunology, microbiology, physiology and neurology (Avila, 1995; Raven, Johnson, Mason,
Losos & Singer, 2013).
Sherman et al (2016) examined the association of both testosterone and cortisol with
attained status in male executives.
ADHD is a “neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by attention-deficit and
hyperactivity” (Verheul., 2016: 793).
Table 1
Articles included in the Systematic Review (sorted by year) *
(Chase, 1967)
(Ramey, 1973)
(Matteson & Ivancevich, 1979)
(Purifoy & Koopmans, 1979)
(Cann, Siegfried & Pearce,
(Ivancevich, Matteson &
Preston, 1982)
(Rose, Jenkins, Hurst, Herd &
Hall, 1982)
(Balick & Herd, 1987)
(Chung & Leung, 1988)
(Steffy & Jones, 1988)
(Dabbs, de La Rue & Williams,
(Dabbs, 1992)
(Fox, Dwyer & Ganster, 1993)
(Schaubroeck et al., 1994)
(Schaubroeck & Merritt, 1997)
(Dabbs, Alford & Fielden,
(Lundberg & Frankenhaeuser,
(Melin et al., 1999)
(Evans & Steptoe, 2001)
(Ganster et al., 2001)
(Rau, Georgiades, Fredrikson,
Lemne & de Faire, 2001)
(Chiu & Babcock, 2002)
(Hines, 1987)
(Mannuzza, Klein, Bessler,
Malloy & LaPadula, 1993)
(Carroll & Ponterotto, 1998)
(Cooper, 2000)
(Kussrow, 2001)
(Taylor & Walter, 2003)
(Reynolds, 2006)
(Rock & Schwartz, 2006)
(Bailey, 2007)
(Butler & Senior, 2007a)
(Butler & Senior, 2007b)
(Dvorak & Badal, 2007)
(Klein & D'Esposito, 2007)
(Lee & Chamberlain, 2007)
(Goleman & Boyatzis, 2008)
(Gordon, 2008)
(Lee, Butler & Senior, 2008)
(Painter, Prevatt & Welles,
(Peterson, Balthazard,
Waldman & Thatcher, 2008)
(Ringleb & Rock, 2008)
(Senior, Lee & Butler, 2008a)
(Senior, Lee & Butler, 2008b)
(Beugré, 2009)
(Halmøy, Fasmer, Gillberg &
Haavik, 2009)
(Kleinman, Durkin, Melkonian
(Lundberg & Hellström, 2002)
(Roehling, 2002)
(Barling, Kelloway & Iverson,
(Fannin & Dabbs, 2003)
(Hosoda, Stone-Romero &
Coats, 2003)
(Cawley, 2004)
(Judge & Cable, 2004)
(Kunz-Ebrecht, Kirschbaum,
Marmot & Steptoe, 2004)
(Schlotz, Hellhammer, Schulz
& Stone, 2004)
(Ferris, Sinclair & Kline, 2005)
(Tunceli, Bradley, Nerenz,
Williams, Pladevall & Elston
Lafata, 2005)
(Baron et al., 2006)
(Byrne & Hochwarter, 2006)
(White et al., 2006)
(Little et al., 2007)
(Lovelace, Manz & Alves,
(Tomasino, 2007)
(White, Thornhill & Hampson,
(Heaphy & Dutton, 2008)
(Rystedt, Cropley, Devereux &
Michalianou, 2008)
(Wirtz, Siegrist, Rimmele &
Ehlert, 2008)
(Bass & Bass, 2009)
(Han, Norton & Stearns, 2009)
& Markosyan, 2009)
(Logan, 2009)
(Salvador & Folger, 2009)
(Becker & Cropanzano, 2010)
(Lafferty & Alford, 2010)
(Laureiro-Martínez et al., 2010)
(Lee, Butler & Senior, 2010)
(Rock, 2010)
(Senior, 2010)
(Becker et al., 2011)
(Boyatzis, 2011)
(Powell, 2011)
(Senior, Lee & Butler, 2011)
(Waldman, Balthazard &
Peterson, 2011b)
(Waldman et al., 2011a)
(Balthazard, Waldman,
Thatcher & Hannah, 2012)
(Boyatzis et al., 2012)
(Hills, 2012)
(Lee, Senior & Butler, 2012a)
(Lee, Senior & Butler, 2012b)
(Lindebaum, 2012)
(Powell & Puccinelli, 2012)
(Seni, 2012)
(Volk & Kohler, 2012)
(Ashkanasy, 2013)
(Becker & Menges, 2013)
(Bozionelos & Bozionelos,
(Butler, 2013)
(Cropanzano & Becker, 2013)
(de Holan, 2013)
(Hansen, Larsen, Rugulies,
Garde & Knudsen, 2009)
(Heraclides, Chandola, Witte &
Brunner, 2009)
(Judge, Hurst & Simon, 2009)
(Shane, 2009)
(Sapienza, Zingales &
Maestripieri, 2009)
(Unger et al., 2009)
(Wright, Cropanzano, Bonett &
Diamond, 2009)
(Zyphur, Narayanan, Koh &
Koh, 2009)
(Akinola, 2010)
(Ilies et al., 2010b)
(Ilies et al., 2010a)
(Mehta & Josephs, 2010)
(Sundararajan, 2010)
(Trahms et al., 2010)
(Voracek & Schicker, 2010)
(Agerstrom & Rooth, 2011)
(Guiso & Rustichini, 2011b)
(Guiso & Rustichini, 2011a)
(Jackson, Madewell &
Kennison, 2011)
(Karlson et al., 2011)
(Saphire-Bernstein et al., 2011)
(Arvey & Zhen, 2012)
(Klofstad et al., 2012)
(Little & Roberts, 2012)
(Livingston, Rosette &
Washington, 2012)
(Re et al., 2012)
(Halbesleben, Wheeler &
Shanine, 2013)
(Hannah et al., 2013)
(Jack et al., 2013)
(Laureiro-Martinez et al., 2014)
(Lindebaum, 2013a)
(Lindebaum, 2013b)
(Lindebaum & Zundel, 2013;
Scherbaum & Meade, 2013)
(Nicolaou & Shane, 2013)
(Senior & Lee, 2013)
(Tracey & Schluppeck, 2013)
(Waldman, 2013)
(Waldman et al., 2013)
(Waytz & Mason, 2013)
(Ashkanasy, Becker &
Waldman, 2014)
(Boyatzis, 2014)
(Boyatzis, Rochford & Jack,
(Cikara & Van Bavel, 2014)
(Foxall, 2014)
(Healey & Hodgkinson, 2014)
(Krueger & Welpe, 2014)
(Lindebaum & Jordan, 2014)
(Lindebaum & Raftopoulou,
(McDermott & Hatemi, 2014)
(McDonald & Tang, 2014)
(Spector, 2014)
(Volk & Becker, 2014)
(Volk, Köhler & Pudelko,
(Sherman et al., 2012)
(Spisak, Homan, Grabo & Van
Vugt, 2012)
(Spisak, Dekker, Kruger & van
Vugt, 2012)
(Spisak, 2012)
(Ganster & Rosen, 2013)
(Li & Xie, 2013)
(Re et al., 2013)
(Ronay & Carney, 2013)
(Scherbaum & Meade, 2013)
(van der Loos et al., 2013a)
(White, Kenrick & Neuberg,
(Alrajih & Ward, 2014)
(Arvey et al., 2014)
(Christian et al., 2014)
(Doll et al., 2014)
(Greene et al., 2014)
(Gundemir, Homan, de Dreu &
van Vugt, 2014)
(Little, 2014)
(Olivola et al., 2014)
(Re & Perrett, 2014)
(Arvey & Zhang, 2015)
(Bendahan et al., 2015)
(Vongas & Al Hajj, 2015)
(Schipper, 2015)
(Unger et al., 2015)
(Klofstad et al., 2015)
(Bönte et al., 2015)
(Diebig et al., 2016)
(Gielen et al., 2016)
(Balthazard & Thatcher, 2015)
(Basnakova, van Berkum,
Weber & Hagoort, 2015)
(Becker et al., 2015)
(Boyatzis, Rochford & Taylor,
(Case & Oetama-Paul, 2015)
(Coetzer, 2015)
(Friedman, Jack, Rochford &
Boyatzis, 2015)
(Jackie, 2015)
(Jiang et al., 2015)
(Kawasaki et al., 2015)
(Laureiro-Martínez et al.,
Venkatraman, Cappa, Zollo &
Brusoni, 2015b)
(Massaro, 2015)
(Molenberghs et al., 2015)
(Senior, Lee & Braeutigam,
(Verheul et al., 2015)
(Waldman & Balthazard,
(Waldman & Balthazard,
(Butler et al., 2016)
(Cropanzano, Massaro &
Becker, 2016)
(Dulebohn et al., 2016)
(Healey, Hodgkinson &
Massaro, 2016)
(Klofstad et al., 2016)
(Manville et al., 2016)
(Nickson, Timming, Re &
Perrett, 2016)
(Overskeid, 2016)
(Re & Rule, 2016a)
(Re & Rule, 2016b)
(Re & Rule, 2016c)
(Sherman et al., 2016)
(van der Meij, Schaveling &
van Vugt, 2016)
(Zak & Winn, 2016)
(Nicolaou et al., in press)
(Silberzahn & Menges, in press)
(Hoffman, 2016)
(Lindebaum, 2016)
(Niven & Boorman, 2016)
(Robertson, Voegtlin & Maak,
(Rochford, Jack, Boyatzis &
French, 2016)
(Thurik et al., 2016)
(Verheul et al., 2016)
(Waldman et al., 2016a)
(Wiklund et al., 2016)
(Waldman et al., 2016b)
(Butler, Lee & Senior, In press)
(Braeutigam, Lee & Senior, In
(Waldman et al., in press)
*Complete references for the papers listed in Table 1 appear in the online appendix.
Figure 1
Organizing Framework*
* Some studies are included in more than one category. For example, the paper by Mehta and Josephs (2010) Is included in both the testosterone
and cortisol sections as it examines both.
Figure 2
Theoretical Framework*
* The figure draws from Arvey and Bouchard (1994) and Arvey et al. (2014) and focuses only on biological influences on management. There
are also interactions between biological factors such as gene X gene interactions and hormone X hormone interactions that are not described in
the diagram
... Previous studies have explored several factors that explain these results. This includes genetic factors (Nicolaou & Shane, 2009;Nofal et al., 2018), financial support (Welsh & Kaciak, 2019), transmission of values related to entrepreneurship (Colombier & Masclet, 2008;Wyrwich, 2015), the role of parents as role models for their children (Hoffmann et al., 2015;Laspita et al., 2012;Lindquist et al., 2015;Staniewski & Awruk, 2021), and how gender moderates such an effect (Mishkin, 2021;Moreno-Gómez et al., 2019). ...
... Overall, the main arguments for parents to influence an individual's decision to start a business are: material support, with capital and resources (Dunn & Holtz-Eakin, 2000;Parker, 2009;Staniewski & Awruk, 2021); social transmission of entrepreneurial behavior through teachings, beliefs, and values (Colombier & Masclet, 2008;Moreno-Gómez et al., 2019;Wyrwich, 2015); genetic and hereditary factors (Nicolaou et al., 2008;Nicolaou & Shane, 2009;Nofal et al., 2018); and, finally, the fact that parents are references and models of entrepreneurs for their children (Chlosta et al., 2012;Hoffmann et al., 2015;Laspita et al., 2012;Lindquist et al., 2015). ...
... These researchers have identified, in the US context, that the intergenerational transmission of entrepreneurial behavior and the decision to become an entrepreneur are related to genetic factors, as they involve psychological behaviors and chemical reactions in the brain. In addition, genes are responsible for the development of extraversion traits (Nofal et al., 2018), which can facilitate engagement, communication, and the predisposition to start a business, as well as develop people's sensitivity to environmental interactions and influence experiences in entrepreneurial ecosystems. Colombier and Masclet (2008) also sought to investigate factors that increase the propensity to entrepreneurship of people who have entrepreneurial parents. ...
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The intergenerational transmission is one of the key variables that shape entrepreneurship as an occupational choice. However, the role of gender is still a gap in the literature on intergenerational transmission of entrepreneurial behavior. Thus, this study aims to assess the effect of gender homophily in the intergenerational transmission of entrepreneurial behavior. The sample was composed of 10,889 students from the Federal Institute of Technology of Rio Grande do Norte. The probit regression method was applied to measure the probability of an individual becoming an entrepreneur if they are born of an entrepreneurial father or mother. The results show that being an offspring of an entrepreneurial father or entrepreneurial mother is associated with an increase in the probability of an individual becoming an entrepreneur. Moreover, the transmission is increased when the entrepreneurial parent and the offspring share the same gender. Keywords: intergenerational transmission; entrepreneurial behavior; gender homophily
... This method has successfully been used in several interdisciplinary fields as well as in accounting, intellectual capital and knowledge management research (Massaro et al. 2015;Massaro et al. 2016;Paoloni et al. 2020a, b). Compared to traditional narrative reviews, SLR has the following advantages: (1) a higher quality of the review process and outcomes (Danese et al. 2018); (2) minimizing bias and errors (Dada 2018); (3) a greater validity of the process through the possibility to replicate the steps of the review process (Wang and Chugh 2014); 4) the mapping of specific research areas and data synthesis (Kauppi et al. 2018); (5) it offers a framework that makes existing knowledge available for researchers and practitioners (Dada 2018;Nofal et al. 2018). ...
Purpose—Nowadays, there is an increasing social, economic, and regulatory pressure on firms to improve their corporate environmental performance (CEP). CEP is an important subset of the overall corporate social responsibility and refers to the specific efforts firms undertake to save energy and decrease pollution as well as to the activities geared towards promoting environmental protection.In view of the increased attention to corporate environmental responsibility, scholars have begun to explore the potential drivers of CEP including board gender diversity (BGD) and female representation in management. Researchers assume that female directors and managers are more sensitive to environmental issues and care more about the needs of other stakeholders beyond shareholders. However, the empirical research has yielded mixed results. Some studies show that firms with greater BGD or female leadership have a better CEP, while others find no significant association or even a negative one.The purpose of this chapter is to review and systematize the empirical literature on board gender diversity, female leaders and CEP and to outline an agenda for future research.Methodology—We first conducted a Scopus search to take stock of the empirical works on gender diversity and CEP, then we analyzed relevant articles using the SRL methodology combined with an in-depth content analysis, in order to identify the main research topics and the major existing gaps.Findings—The existing research has focused on four main thematic areas: (1) Board gender diversity, female leaders and environmental performance; (2) Board gender diversity, female leaders and environmental disclosure; (3) Board gender diversity, female leaders and environmental innovation; and (4) Board gender diversity and female leaders as moderating factors between corporate environmental performance and corporate financial performance. This literature has tended to focus on the direct effect of gender diversity on CEP, but relatively few studies have investigated the contingencies factors that may affect this association. Future research should explore the boundary conditions of this linkage at different levels of analysis (i.e., at organizational, institutional, and individual levels) so as to reconcile previous inconsistent findings. Also, research has not thoroughly analyzed the mediating mechanisms of the effect of gender diversity on CEP. Further studies should fill this void as well. In terms of empirical strategies, the vast majority of studies employ quantitative research methods and assume a linear relationship between gender diversity and environmental performance. Future research should also explore the potential curvilinear effects of gender diversity and employ more qualitative and mixed-methods approaches.Originality—To the best of our knowledge, there are no structured literature reviews that comprehensively examine this empirical literature.KeywordsBoard gender diversityFemale leadersCorporate environmental responsibility
... In any case, future research could explore other databases to find different papers. Finally, as typically happens in systematic literature research, the findings are influenced by the definition of the initial set of keywords and the adopted search formula [129]. We tried to overcome this limitation by adopting a recursive approach that allowed for extending the sets of keywords, by considering keywords applied in the papers found in our review. ...
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Food communication is the main way for businesses to inform customers and guide purchasing behaviour. However, the value consumers perceive from such information remains unclear, and a complete understanding of the food information behaviour is still missing. For this reason, this paper outlines the results of a systematic literature review to identify, evaluate and synthesize the scientific food information behaviour domain according to the perceived value for consumers. The analysis shows that the current scientific literature is essentially centred on studying consumers and their behaviour in the food consumption process. Still, it lacks studies about the impact of the information on the overall perceived value of consumer food experience. The emergence and diffusion of personalized information services make this kind of study particularly suitable. In light of the fast pace of widespread technological evolution in the food sector, this issue represents a topic to be addressed in the following years.
... The aim of the review is to analyze and to systematize all the collected articles in a replicable way. The choice of SLR is due to its versatility and the following advantages: (1) a higher quality of review process and outcomes [75]; (2) minimizing bias and errors [18,76]; (3) confirmation of results' validity due to the replication of steps during the review process [77]; (4) mapping, synthesis and organization of specific research areas [77,78]; and (5) the possibility to develop a framework about existing knowledge [18,79]. ...
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Digitalization and sustainability is widely investigated; however, only few studies have analyzed the role of sustainable decision-making processes in the business strategy field for achieving sustainable development goals: The study proposes a structured literature review (SLR), analyzing 318 documents published in the period 2019–2023. The results of the SLR bring to light that the publications on the topic mainly regard seven research areas. Green supply chains, logistics and digital management is the principal one, followed by sustainable goals, green indicators, and digital advancement. Furthermore, the analysis marks future research lines: although this document offers an overview of the main studies in literature, the major limitation is the use of only one database and a time span of 5 years. This study could contribute to generate further research on sustainable decision-making processes, promoting a different organizational approach to value creation and sustainable performance.
... The study's methodology is influenced by Yadav and Bansal (2021), Nofal et al. (2018), and Bansal, Singh, and Nangia (2022), and it includes a rigorous review procedure that ensures a high level of transparency and replicability. This integrative review identified and selected papers from two databases: Scopus and Web of Science. ...
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The continuous growth of information and technology has resulted in considerable changes in the retailing environment, with a restriction on brick-and-mortar retailing and a push toward online retailing. The purpose of this study is to map the available literature on e-tailing in order to forecast where the field might be headed in the coming years and to identify the key features that contribute to e-tailing businesses. The paper employs an integrative review methodology and bibliometric method as a computational tool, and selected Web of Science and SCOPUS database(s), to identify the most productive research disciplines and countries that con- duct the majority of e-tailing research. The study examines major themes such as consumer behavior and perception, technology and media, pricing strategies, channel integration, cognitive impact, business strategies, and models, and channel strategies to provide a comprehensive framework of e-tailing. This is the first study to present a thorough picture of e-tailing by identifying topics, research evolution, annual publishing trends, and the most relevant journals. The study offers future research areas in the form of thematic propositions and advocates greater research into upcoming trends such as voice assistants, chatbots, AI, and direct- to-consumer markets while adding relevant concepts.
... Moreover, it improves the quality and outcomes of the review process (Danese et al., 2018) as well as the systematic literature reviews is the most frequently used methodology to provide interesting insights in various research field. For instance, in the fields of medical sciences and management (Nofal et al., 2018). ...
This paper aims to systematically review the relationship between corporate taxation and intangible assets. The author searched the Scopus database for relevant scholarly work published over the period 2010–2020. Articles were screened based on their relation to the study’s objectives, resulting in a selection of 67 articles. A final sample of 15 articles were selected for inclusion in the systematic review. The analysis indicates that the studies primarily explain the role of multinational transfer price aggressiveness, intragroup transfer price, and arm’s length principles in investigating the relationship between corporate taxation and intangible assets. The findings suggest that the previous studies should consider the benefits associated with firms’ profit shifting behavior rather than explaining the negative implications that could be mitigated by ensuring transparency in the taxation system. The findings would aid in the development of effective global tax administration to investigate this topic in the context of developing and emerging economies. This paper includes a review of the available literature in order to give researchers and practitioners with useful recommendations and insights, as well as to identify certain research gaps that need to be investigated.
Public administration scholars have had a long‐lasting interest in examining individual differences relevant to the attractiveness of public service employment. However, very few studies have explored the genetic underpinnings of these variations. This article builds upon recent behavioral genetics literature and explores whether there are genetic overlaps between psychological attributes and selection into public service employment. We construct the polygenic risk scores (PRSs) on two psychological attributes—neuroticism and positive affect—to model the genetic influence on public service employment in a nationwide UK dataset with 262,795 participants. The results suggest that the PRS of positive affect is a significant predictor of individuals’ selection into public service employment, implying that individuals with high innate happiness are more likely to self‐select into service work. Taking the existing socialization literature and this result into consideration, our findings support that both nature and nurture factors shape individuals’ selection into public service employment.
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Job satisfaction research has unfolded as an exemplary manifestation of the "person versus environment" debate in applied psychology. With the increasing recognition of the importance of time, it is informative to examine a question critical to the dispositional view of job satisfaction: Are genetic influences on job satisfaction stable across different time points? Drawing upon dispositional and situational perspectives on job satisfaction and recent research in developmental behavioral genetics, we examined whether the relative potency of genetic (i.e., the person) and environmental influences on job satisfaction changed over time in a 3-wave longitudinal twin study. Biometric behavioral genetics analyses showed that genetic influences accounted for 31.2% of the variance in job satisfaction measured at approximately Age 21, which was markedly greater than the 18.7% and 19.8% of variance explained by genetic factors at Age 25 and Age 30. Such genetic influences were mediated via positive affectivity and negative affectivity, but not via general mental ability. After partialing out genetic influences, environmental influences on job satisfaction were related to interpersonal conflict at work and occupational status, and these influences were relatively stable across the 3 time points. These results offer important implications for organizations and employees to better understand and implement practices to enhance job satisfaction. (PsycINFO Database Record
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A previous genome-wide association study (GWAS) of more than 100,000 individuals identified molecular-genetic predictors of educational attainment. We undertook in-depth life-course investigation of the polygenic score derived from this GWAS using the four-decade Dunedin Study (N = 918). There were five main findings. First, polygenic scores predicted adult economic outcomes even after accounting for educational attainments. Second, genes and environments were correlated: Children with higher polygenic scores were born into better-off homes. Third, children’s polygenic scores predicted their adult outcomes even when analyses accounted for their social-class origins; social-mobility analysis showed that children with higher polygenic scores were more upwardly mobile than children with lower scores. Fourth, polygenic scores predicted behavior across the life course, from early acquisition of speech and reading skills through geographic mobility and mate choice and on to financial planning for retirement. Fifth, polygenic-score associations were mediated by psychological characteristics, including intelligence, self-control, and interpersonal skill. Effect sizes were small. Factors connecting DNA sequence with life outcomes may provide targets for interventions to promote population-wide positive development.
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Attention-deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) symptoms have been associated with the decision to become self-employed. Although these symptoms are generally regarded as disadvantageous, there may also be a bright side. To our knowledge, however, there has been no systematic, epidemiological evidence to support this claim. This paper examines the association between ADHD symptoms and self-employment in a population-based sample from the STAGE cohort of the Swedish Twin Registry (N = 7208). For replication, we used a sample of Dutch students who participated in the Global University Entrepreneurial Spirit Students' Survey (N = 13,112). In the Swedish sample, we found a positive association with self-employment for both general ADHD symptoms [odds ratio (OR) 1.13; 95 % confidence intervals (CI) 1.04-1.23] and hyperactivity symptoms [OR 1.19; 95 % CI 1.08-1.32], whereas no association was found for attention-deficit symptoms [OR 0.99; 95 % CI 0.89-1.10]. The positive association between hyperactivity and self-employment was replicated in the Dutch student sample [OR 1.09; 95 % CI 1.03-1.15]. Our results show that certain aspects of ADHD, in particular hyperactivity, can have a bright side, as they are positively associated with self-employment.
Interdisciplinary research is widely considered a hothouse for innovation, and the only plausible approach to complex problems such as climate change. One barrier to interdisciplinary research is the widespread perception that interdisciplinary projects are less likely to be funded than those with a narrower focus. However, this commonly held belief has been difficult to evaluate objectively, partly because of lack of a comparable, quantitative measure of degree of interdisciplinarity that can be applied to funding application data. Here we compare the degree to which research proposals span disparate fields by using a biodiversity metric that captures the relative representation of different fields (balance) and their degree of difference (disparity). The Australian Research Council's Discovery Programme provides an ideal test case, because a single annual nationwide competitive grants scheme covers fundamental research in all disciplines, including arts, humanities and sciences. Using data on all 18,476 proposals submitted to the scheme over 5 consecutive years, including successful and unsuccessful applications, we show that the greater the degree of interdisciplinarity, the lower the probability of being funded. The negative impact of interdisciplinarity is significant even when number of collaborators, primary research field and type of institution are taken into account. This is the first broad-scale quantitative assessment of success rates of interdisciplinary research proposals. The interdisciplinary distance metric allows efficient evaluation of trends in research funding, and could be used to identify proposals that require assessment strategies appropriate to interdisciplinary research.
This study contributes to literature on leadership by linking the full-range leadership behaviors (transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership) with an objective indicator of employees' stress, namely cortisol, assessed via hair. Hair cortisol is a biological indicator of stress, providing an innovative means of displaying the cortisol concentration of the human body over time. Building on a role ambiguity framework, this study explores the double-edged relationship between full-range leader behaviors and followers' stress by focusing on clarifying and ambiguity-increasing aspects of these leader behaviors. One-hundred-twenty-nine participants provided information on their leaders' full-range leadership behaviors together with a hair sample. Results show leader behaviors have significant relationships with followers' hair cortisol level. Results confirm our hypotheses and reveal two different patterns of leader behaviors with regard to stress: a stress-reducing as well as a stress-promoting pattern of leader behaviors. Results are discussed in the context of leadership research and stress theory, and limitations together with implications for future research are presented.
Historically, the lack of availability and prohibitive expense of brain imaging technology have limited the application of neuroscience research in organizational settings. However, recent advances in technology have made it possible to use brain imaging in organizational settings at relatively little expense and in a practical manner to further research efforts. In this article, we weigh the advantages and disadvantages of neuroscience applications to organizational research. Further, we present three key methodological issues that need to be considered with regard to such applications: (a) level of assessment, (b) intrinsic versus reflexive brain activity, and (c) the targeting of brain region(s) or networks. We also pose specific examples of how neuroscience may be applied to various topical areas in organizational behavior research at both individual and team levels.