Experiments in Organizational Behavior in Laboratory Experiments for the Social Sciences, M. Webster, J. Sell (Eds.), Academic Press (2014) 433-447
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The goal of the scientific study of organizational behavior is to solve problems related to joint production marked by division of labor and interdependence. In this chapter, we focus on one key challenge of interdependent work in organizations—unethical behavior—to illustrate how experiments have and can be used to advance the understanding of organizational behavior. The specific example of the study of unethical behavior serves the purpose of highlighting general principles about experimentation in organizational behavior research and pointing out how experiments can generate practical insights for organizations. We also examine why experimental methodology is not only the sole internally valid method but also often the most practical means of conducting research in organizational behavior. In so doing, we argue that the relative underuse of experiments by organizational behavior scholars is unfortunate and unnecessary. We advocate a greater use of experiments in organizational behavior research and propose that a combination of experimental and passive observational methodologies represents the most appropriate approach in most cases.