The research on Organizational Behavior and HRM: methodological and epistemological issues

Discipline: EAD5969-1

Concentration area: 12139

Number of Credits: 8

Course load:

(Per week)
(Per week)
(Per week)
Knowledge development and empirical research involve three fundamental stages: theoretical construction, data access and inference. The training researcher should understand the inseparability of these three stages. As a tripod of scientific construction, the risks and limits on any such stages threaten the validity of the whole process. In the case of Social Sciences, it is also necessary to reflect on the repercussions of these limits to the application of the knowledge.
The Organizational Behavior and HRM field, in particular, faces features (whether due to the nature of the phenomena or the object of investigation) that impose risks to empirical research and, consequently, its application in different contexts.
The aim of this course is to provoke reflection and discussion of epistemological and methodological issues that may threaten or expand the scope of research in the field of Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management. This proposal does not include teaching methodological designs or data analysis techniques. These contents are on the scope of other disciplines - it is preferable that students have previously attended these courses when applying for EAD (code).
At the end of this course, I expect from the students:
1) Critical view of the research in the area, with greater understanding of the limits imposed by the objects, nature of phenomena, boundaries, etc;
2) Ability to critically evaluate published studies in the area in terms of validity of the constructs, methodological relevance and validity of the results;
3) Enhancement of their individual research projects and recognition of the limits imposed by their decisions.

The classes require: 1) active participation of students, made possible by the previous reading; 2) written assignments of texts to be indicated; 3) group discussion.
The classes are structured in two parts 1) time provided for discussion; 2) examination of specific cases (empirical studies already published) for review based on the content of the class. In addition, the course predicts two seminars. One of them will be the presentation of the individual research projects, which will be evaluated by the group based on the topics in the program. At the end, students must submit, in pairs, theoretical essays based on one of the course topics

All the topics are focused on the Organizational Behavior and HRM research field.

Epistemological Issues
• The structure of organizational behavior and HRM field: elements to understand their internal dynamics and development prospects;
• The theoretical fragmentation: overlaping, new labels, micro-theorizing, and construct stretching
• The link between the concept and its measurement: questions of validity

Methodological issues
• The phenomena in context: are case studies the only option?
• The levels of analysis of the field of studies: individual, group, organization;
• Limits of descriptive and correlational studies;
• Experiments and causality: impacts on inferential processes and generalization;
• Speech versus action: apprehension of the phenomenon by the word (self-reported), by making (observation), by the anticipation of doing (prospecting and simulation)
• Longitudinal research: challenges and opportunities;
• The challenges of mixed methods in the field of Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management;

Application Issues
• The cross-cultural perspective in research: feasibility, contributions and limitations;
• The challenges of transferring knowledge: application of the research on organizational behavior and HRM.

Avaliation methods:
- Oral presentations – 25%
- Writing assignments – 25%
- Final work (essay) – 50%


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Gondim, S. M. G., Bendassoli, P., Coelho Jr., F. A., & Pereira, M. E. (não publicado). Causas e razões nos modelos explicativos de fenômenos em POT: Aspectos epistemológicos, teóricos e metodológicos. Estudo desenvolvido para a ANPEPP 2016.
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Special Issue published by Revista Psicologia: Organizações e Trabalho. 2016.