Clark Warner
Ph.D candidate in HRM
Supervisor: Marion Fortin (CRM / UMR CNRS 5303)

Can you summarize your research?  

I want to know why conscience often fails, allowing people to repeatedly commit scandalous behavior at work. Research suggests that intuition is trained in new situations.  Initially you might wrestle with a questionable decision, but once a bad environment pushes you to rationalize it away, that decision becomes second nature and can be repeated without a second thought.  

To go a step further what are your main results?

Drawing on theories of ethical decision making and organizational ethical climate, I suggest that egoistic ethical climates will cause people to not only make unethical decisions but also ingrain those decisions such they become intuitive.  In effect the climate creates “bad apples.”  I intend to examine this in a longitudinal study of newcomers transitioning from school to work.

You recently presented your work at the 5th International Workshop on Organizational Justice and Behavioral Ethics, what was most discussed by other researchers?

At the workshop, one very senior researcher pointed out that we can “make monsters” by demonizing those whose intuition was trained appropriately in a prior environment but who face a changed environment now.  Another stressed the importance of social context.  We may make decisions by thinking of what respected others would do rather than doing an ethical calculus ourselves.

You are an alumnus of Harvard University, Stanford University and Boston University what was the most surprising experience here at the Toulouse Capitole University?

The biggest surprise was the 80’s American pop music playing in the cafeteria. It is indicative of how easy it has been for an American with poor French to survive in Toulouse.  English is the new Latin. Of course as a researcher I also thrive on being in a new context.  I have learned a tremendous amount from my brilliant and patient colleagues and not just about their research.