My review of issues surrounding behavioral genetics and neuroscience in
organizational behavior appeared recently, which was coauthored with
P.D. Harms of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (Peter Harms). In this
paper, we focus on a variety of issues associated with the use of
genetic-and other physiological-information by business organizations.
These issues are both ethical and practical. That is, even if
we can somehow pass through the ethical minefield that modern genetic
mapping techniques pose, can we hope to use such information well.
To begin answering this question, we provide a relatively high-level
overview of a modern biological perspective called “sociogenomics”.
This approach answers psychology’s traditional “nature versus nurture”
dichotomy by pointing out that both nature-an individual’s
inherited set of genetic polymorphisms-and nurture-an individual’s life
experiences-operate by modifying gene expression. We also provide a
rough field guide to some of the epigenetic (i.e., gene expression
regulation) mechanisms that drive this whole process. We therefore
conclude that, while much can be learned from genetic and physiological
research that can be used in the study of organizational behavior, we
have only begun to scratch the surface of actually using that
The paper is available at:
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, an open-access journal.