Research Group

Behavioral Ethics Meets Corporate Governance: Paradigm Shift?

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Behavioral Ethics Meets Corporate Governance: Paradigm Shift?

September 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021

Organizer:

Adi Libson (Bar-Ilan University)

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Research Group Assistant: Barak Or

 

Over the last few years, there has been a growing academic interest in the field of behavioral ethics: people’s ethical biases in decision making. This scholarship has focused on the behavioral mechanisms that explain why ordinary unethicality is so common among people who view themselves as law-abiding individuals.

A recently published book by Professor Yuval Feldman (2008) systematically explored the far-reaching implications of this literature to the legal field: Instead of assuming that its primary target are "bad people" which the law must deter from maximizing their own self-interest, the law should aim to address "good people." These changes require a better understanding of the mechanisms which cause good people to do wrong. Better understanding will also lead to better ways of addressing this problem, by designing the situation in ways which would reduce people’s unethicality, such as verifying they have fewer justifications to behave unethically or ensuring they have a clear view of who are they harming.

The proposed research is aimed at examining the interaction of the behavioral ethics literature with the legal field which provides the most fertile ground for its acceptance: corporate law and governance. The corporate context serves as a 'perfect storm' combining and exacerbating several aspects emphasized in the behavioral ethics literature that lead individuals to act wrongly, such as doing things for the benefit of others, diffusion of responsibility, remoteness of the victim and contagiousness.

Furthermore, addressing the issue of conflict-of-interests and agency problems is central to the field of corporate law. As such, the understanding that a central way for curbing conflicts-of-interest is by increasing the saliency of the conflict-of-interest in the eyes of the agent may have far-reaching implications in the realm of corporate law and completely alter the arsenal of its tools. In many instances, such an analysis may reach opposite conclusions to that of the conventional law and economics framework on the effectiveness of certain instruments in curbing conflict-of-interest problems. Are independent directors an effective tool for monitoring conflicts-of-interests? How significant should be the role of fiduciary duties in dealing with the agency problem? What effects does the group dynamics of boards have on the monitoring of conflict-of-interests? Two types of implications of behavioral ethics on corporate governance will be examined: structural implications and procedural implications.

The central goal of the group is to facilitate a reciprocal engagement: examining the possible contribution of behavioral ethics to the corporate governance literature and the contribution of corporate governance to the organizational psychology literature. Behavioral ethics has many potential implications for corporate governance and can yield various feasible policy applications. Legal corporate scholars can also contribute to behavioral ethics scholars, by providing real-world contexts and suggesting additional experiments which can validate experimental findings in the field of behavioral ethics. This is an important contribution to the behavioral ethics literature, which faces a serious challenge concerning the extent of its external validity.

 

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Francois du Bois

Francois Du Bois

FELLOW
University of Leicester

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Francois du Bois is Professor of Law at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. He has a long-standing research interest in both legal transplantation and the horizontal application of constitutional/fundamental rights. Most recently, he has explored these themes in journal articles and book chapters which have analysed the impact of the UK Human Rights Act and South Africa’s post-Apartheid Bill of Rights respectively on English and South African contract law and tort law. His books include Dignity, Freedom and the Post-Apartheid Legal Order (2009) with Jaco Barnard and Drucilla Cornell; Justice and Reconciliation in Post-Apartheid South Africa (2008) with Antje du Bois-Pedain; and The Practice of Integrity: Reflections on Ronald Dworkin and South African Law (2005).

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Thomas Horsley

Thomas Horsley

FELLOW
University of Liverpool

Thomas Horsley is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Liverpool. He completed his PhD thesis at the University of Edinburgh (2009-2011), funded by the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council. He was appointed Associated Head of Department in 2019.

 

Thomas specialises in EU and UK constitutional law with a particular focus on theorising the relationships between constitutions and institutions. He has published widely in leading international journals and edited collections. His first monograph, The Court of Justice of the European Union as an Institutional Actor: Judicial Lawmaking and its Limits, appeared with Cambridge University Press in 2018.  It interrogates the function of the EU Treaty framework as a source of normative restraint on the Court of Justice and, more specifically, its interpretative choices as an institutional actor within the Union legal order.

 

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Thomas engages proactively with key stakeholders. In 2017, he was invited by the European People’s Party to speak at the European Parliament on the challenges of managing Brexit. He has previously given evidence to the House of Lords EU Select Committee (2015). His research also been cited in several UK Government reports. In 2014, he was appointed UK rapporteur at the XXVI FIDE Congress hosted by the University of Copenhagen. Thomas also regularly offers expert reaction to national and international media (incl. BBC News and CTV News) on major legal developments in EU and UK constitutional law. 

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Research Groups: Convergence and Divergence in Pentateuchal Theory: Bridging the Academic Cultures of Israel, North America, and Europe

[RG # 134] Convergence and Divergence in Pentateuchal Theory: Bridging the Academic Cultures of Israel, North America, and Europe

Sept. 1, 2012 - July 1, 2013

Organizer:

Bernard M. Levinson (University of Minnesota)
Konrad Schmid (University of Zurich)
Baruch Schwartz (The Hebrew University)

 

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The Pentateuch lies at the heart of western Humanities, and the question of the formation of the Pentateuch represents one of the foundational topics in the discipline of academic bibilical studies. Despite its importance to the discipline, recent scholarship on this question has become increasingly divided on fundamental questions like dating, the existence of literary sources, and the role of authors or editors in shaping the final document. In effect, three separate academic cultures have emerged, those of Israel, Europe and North America, each promoting its own model, and without sufficient intellectual exchange between scholars in the various communities regarding their own assumptions. Our research group was created to address this problem, to bring about greater dialogue among leading proponents of the different scholarly models, and to move towards a shared discourse.

 

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Research Groups:Neo-Aramaic Dialectology

[RG # 135] Neo-Aramaic Dialectology: Jews, Christians, and Mandeans 

Sept. 1, 2012 - July 1, 2013

Organizer:

Steven Fassberg (The Hebrew University)
Simon Hopkins (The Hebrew University)
Hezy Mutzafy (Tel Aviv University)

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Aramaic is an endangered language, more precisely, a group of languages, that is on the verge of extinction. First attested in inscriptions from Upper Mesopotamia, northern Syria, and northern Israel at the beginning of the first millenium B.C.E., Aramaic has been spoken uninterruptedly up to the present. A century ago Kurdistan (Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish) and Iranian Azerbaijan were home to Jewish and Christian speakers of Aramaic, who had lived in these regions for over two millennia. 

Aramaic is still spoken today in three villages near Damascus (Ma'lula, Bax'a, and Jubb'adin) by Christians as well as Muslims (who converted over the past centuries from Christianity). Persecution and massacres have severely shrunk the already small native Aramaic-speaking population, and the surviving speakers have fled their original habitat and settled elsewhere, where their speech has been heavily influenced and gradually supplanted by other languages. Today, as a result, competent native speakers of most dialects are both scarce and elderly, and few of them live in a community where Aramaic is still used freely. Within a generation or so, almost all dialects of vernacular Aramaic will disappear.

This unfortunate state of affairs requires immediate action, and the goals of the research group are:

(1) To refine further the existing classifications of Neo-Aramaic dialects
(2) To exchange already collected but hitherto unpublished data in an effort to elucidate grammatical, lexical, and etymological problems
(3) To reconstruct in greater detail the historical depth of the Neo-Aramaic dialects
(4) To record additional unstudied dialects of Jewish Neo-Aramaic speakers in Israel

 

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Research Groups: Patterns and Processes in Organizational Networks

[RG # 133] Patterns and Processes in Organizational Networks

September 1, 2012- February 1, 2013

Organizers:

Yuval Kalish (Tel Aviv University)
Amalya Oliver (The Hebrew University)

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Organizational networks are collaborative systems between organizations that are structured to achieve certain goals. The principle rationale behind organizational networks is that no single organization can achieve its stated outcome by itself due to resource constraints. The resources that are gained from the networks are funding, capabilities, knowledge and learning, legitimacy, consulting and more. While organizations need to collaborate, there are additional factors that hinder these collaborations. These include competition, knowledge protection, free riding, opportunism, inertia, lack of trust and fragility. All these elements are embedded in the process of collaborations and are not well developed in the literature.

Organizational network research is based on sociological and strategy system theories coupled with advanced statistical and algebraic methods on the one hand, and qualitative case studies and egocentric approaches on the other. This area, while witnessing significant growth over the past several years, was mainly characterized by cross-sectional approaches (one-time measurements). The group will focus on areas that are, as yes, not well developed in the general network research fild, and specifically within the overall organizational network domain, i.e. naming patterns of organizational network processes. We have identified three main directions in organizational research - learning networks, temporary network systems and development of networks. Examples of complexities and tensions associated with processes within networks are those that exist between collaboration and competition, innovation and inertia, stability and fragility.

 

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Research Groups: The Influential Child: The Role of Children's Psychobiology and Socialization in Development

[RG # 136] The Influential Child: The Role of Children's Psychobiology and Socialization in Development

March 1, 2013- August 1, 2013

Organizers:

Maayan Davidov (The Hebrew University)
Ariel Knafo (The Hebrew University)

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The research group is comprised of developmental psychologists who have decided to explore a unique perspective within the field of child development: the influential role of children. This perspective is unusual, because the bulk of the research on children's development focuses on how the environment affects the child, not the other way around; our group has set out to examine the opposite direction of influence. This is an extraordinary, unprecendented opportunity for a team of developmental researchers to focus in depth on how children affect their social environment and actively influence their own development.

 

 

 

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Research Groups:Galicia: Literary and Historical Approaches to the Construction of a Jewish Place

[RG # 142]  Galicia: Literary and Historical Approaches to the Construction of a Jewish Place

March 1, 2014 - July 31, 2015

Organizers:

Ariel Hirschfeld (The Hebrew University)
Alan Mintz (Jewish Theological Seminary)

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Galicia, the subject of our Research Group, was an invented land, an artificial entity that acquired meaning over the course of its historical experience. Rather than being a land with a longstanding identity of its own, Galicia was created as a province of the Habsburg Monarchy as a product of the negotiations with Russia and Poland that led to the partition of Poland in 1772, and it ceased to exist as a political entity in 1918 with the defeat and dissolution of the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary and its incorporation into the new Poland.

The creation of Galicia and the incorporation of the Jewish communities of the Polish kresy (borderlands) into the new Austrian province meant enormous changes. Social and educational reforms issued from Vienna transformed aspects of Jewish life. Our research group aims not only to study the phenomenon of Galicia, but also to bring the disciplines of history and literature into dialogue.

 

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Research Groups:The Visualization of Knowledge in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods

[RG # 141] The Visualization of Knowledge in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods

September 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015

Organizers:

Marcia Kupfer (Independent Scholar, Washington DC)
Katrin Kogman Appel (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)

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The production of visual models is a cognitive mechanism integral to thought. Their invention depends on the reciprocal interaction between mental imaging and strategies of textual and graphic mediation. Such devices as lists, tables, diagrams, charts and maps do not merely compile and communicate information but also have a generative power: they formalize abstract concepts, provide grids through which to process data, set in motion analytic operations that give rise to new ideas, and create interpretive frameworks for understanding the world. The medieval and early modern periods stand as a formative era during which visual structures, imagined or materialized, increasingly shaped and systematized knowledge. Yet these periods have been sidelined as theorists interested in the epistemological potential of visual strategies have defined the field of research in terms of the modern natural sciences.

The historical approach pursued by our interdisciplinary research team offers a corrective to the current scholarly trajectory. As we analyze the fundamental principles underlying visual modes of conceptualization, we will also investigate the cultural parameters that modulated diverse applications in Jewish and Christian societies. At issue are the specific ways in which visual schema function in religious and scientific discourses, how intellectual agendas and spiritual values across confessional and cultural divides might lead to analogous or different types of devices, and the impact of exchange or appropriation on the reception and circulation of particular solutions. The chronological, geographical, and civilizational scope of our collective enterprise is unprecedented.

 

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Interpretation as a Generator of Religious Law: A Comparative Perspective

[RG # 140]  Interpretation as a Generator of Religious Law: A Comparative Perspective

Sept. 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015

Organizers:

Rami Reiner (Ben Gurion University)
Vered Noam (Tel Aviv University)

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Interpretation plays a pivotal role in the making of law, occasionally an act of its very construction. Recent scholarship has applied various hermeneutical theories to the study of authoritative legal-theological texts, and noted the impacts that post-modern approaches to interpretation may have on their investigation.

Our research group is a joint venture to explore the potential of research into the relations between the interpretive dimension and the development of Jewish tradition, from the first centuries CE up until the Middle Ages, against the broad background of similar problems and challenges with which scholars of other religious cultures (such as early Christianity, early Islam, and Hinduism) grapple. The group consists of four scholars of Jewish exegetical literature, one who is additionally an expert in jurisprudence at large, and three who are engaged in the research of law and exegesis in early Christianity, Islam and Hindu philosophy and literature. The group will examine the relationship between the exegetical and the legislative viewpoints in this wide scope of cultures and eras, both diachronically and synchronically, both as a literary and as an ideational phenomenon.

 

 

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