Discounting IQ’s Relevance to Organizational Behavior: The “Somebody Else’s Problem” in Management Education

Open Differential Psychology, 2015


We hypothesize the existence of a “somebody else’s problem” in management education for the sub-discipline of organizational behavior (OB). The problem regards human intelligence, specifically, the general factor, g. Although g is arguably the most powerful variable in social science, OB educators largely ignore it. To demonstrate the former, we review a vast literature establishing g’s construct validity. To demonstrate the latter, we show that current OB textbooks place far less emphasis on g relative to a popular but less potent predictor of organizational success, emotional intelligence. We also show that when textbooks do reference g, it is often just to offer criticism. Misconceptions about empirical data on intelligence testing, denial that a general factor of intelligence exists, the reality of mean racial differences in mental ability, and the finding that genes play a non-trivial role in causing intelligence, seem to make OB’s treatment of this topic “somebody else’s problem.”

Emotional intelligence, Intelligence, Organizational behavior

Reviewed by
Emil O. W. Kirkegaard, John Fuerst, Marc Dalliard

Review time 27 days.