Featured Collaborator for May: Robert Bloomfield
Interview with Robert Bloomfield, Nicholas H. Noyes Professor of Management and Professor of Accounting at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management
My research reinforces a maxim long emphasized by accountants: it is most useful to view ethical behavior as a result of institutional choices, rather than as a result of moral character. It isn’t that a manager’s character has no effect on the ethicality of their decisions, just that it tends to be swamped by institutional forces—and in general, people are far too prone to attribute ethical actions to character when they are actually driven by environment; this bias is so well documented it has been named the Fundamental Attribution Error. Also, we rarely know a person’s character, and even if we do, we don’t know much about how to change it.