Organizational Behavior: The State of the Science

By Jerald Greenberg | Go to book overview

Preface

I always found it fascinating, even inspiring, to learn what experts in the field of organizational behavior (OB) had to say about their specialized areas of expertise. How did they feel about what is going on, and where did they think their subfields should be going? Published articles that gave the field's leaders opportunities to express these opinions were few and far between. This was unfortunate, I believed, because these expert opinions always helped stimulate my own thinking about the topics under consideration. Whether I agreed or disagreed with the experts, I always learned from their observations.

Fortunately, in exchange for a beverage or two at a SIOP or Academy of Management meeting, I found it was possible to get some of the field's most influential scholars to share their observations in person. In fact, when groups of us would convene, it was impossible to keep some of them from doing otherwise, whether or not they were so prompted. This, I always thought to myself, was where "the real learning" occurred at these meetings. It was less from listening to the carefully crafted presentations of individual research studies than from the sharing of opinions about what's going on in the field. It was in these conversations that opinions were formed, ideas were developed, and plans were put into place that ended up shaping the field for years to come.

"What if we could assemble that wisdom in one place, a volume that could be accessed by all?" I wondered about a decade ago. The answer took the form of the first edition of this book—a collection of chapters by leaders in the field of OB who were asked to report on "the state of the science" in their respective subfields—or, as I put it when describing their mission, "what was, what is, and what should be." The resulting book was very well received, but given the fast-paced nature of our field, it's not surprising that the various contributions became dated in just a few years. As

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