Fascinating article over in The Economist on various research biologist are doing on management and work.  The article looks at various studies in genetics, endocrinology, molecular biology and psychology and what the research might mean for business and particularly for their workforces.

There are lots of interesting things in there, including the table I’ve included here which seems to show that we are born to engineering, business, creative arts, etc, but our genetics don’t impact our results in sales, finance and other areas.  It also looks at the impact of hormones, nature/nurture..and then the objections and issues this thinking faces.  These are mostly ethical issues, of course, but all worth a read.

In a workforce planning sense, this might mean that our build, buy, rent decisions may need to vary according to the particular function – buy scientists, build sales people, for example.  The work is all very early, and nowhere near offering conclusions, but the conclusion of the article itself is worth thinking about.

Often, the practical applications of science are serendipitous—and may take a long time to arrive. And even if they never arrive, understanding human behaviour is just plain interesting for its own sake. “We in business schools often act like technicians in the way we conceptualise and teach our topics of study,” he laments. “This owes much to the fact that a business school is more like a trade school than it is a part of classic academia.” Now, largely as a result of efforts by Dr Zyphur and others like him, management science looks set for a thorough, biology-inspired overhaul. Expect plenty more lab coats in business-school corridors.

Classic academia applied to workforce.  Hmmm, that could be interesting…