Theory and Technology in Organizational Psychology: A Review of Technology Integration Paradigms and Their Effects on the Validity of Theory

Richard N. Landers, Sebastian Marin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite the centrality of technology to understanding how humans in organizations think, feel, and behave, researchers in organizational psychology and organizational behavior even now often avoid theorizing about it. In our review, we identify four major paradigmatic approaches in theoretical approaches to technology, which typically occur in sequence: Technology-As-context, technology-As-causal, technology-As-instrumental, and technology-As-designed. Each paradigm describes a typically implicit philosophical orientation toward technology as demonstrated through choices about theory development and research design. Of these approaches, one is unnecessarily limited and two are harmful oversimplifications that we contend have systematically weakened the quality of theory across our discipline. As such, we argue that to avoid creating impractical and even inaccurate theory, researchers must explicitly model technology design. To facilitate this shift, we define technology, present our paradigmatic framework, explain the framework's importance, and provide recommendations across five key domains: personnel selection, training and development, performance management and motivation, groups and teams, and leadership.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-258
Number of pages24
JournalAnnual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior
Volume8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 21 2021

Bibliographical note

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Keywords

  • design
  • development
  • paradigms
  • technology
  • theory
  • validity

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