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E: VP Research
corporate malfeasance so much in the news these days, many people
have been quick to indict the MBA training received by America’s
corporate leaders. The same critics might thus be surprised to
learn that faculty in the nation’s leading business schools
have long been at the forefront of social science research into
the foundations of cooperative and ethical behavior.
At Cornell’s Johnson School, for example, literally dozens of faculty
are actively pursuing research in this area, and many of their findings have
made their way into the MBA curriculum, both here and at other schools. Two
examples are studies on the forces that explain why cooperation often emerges
spontaneously and studies on the forces that often contribute to its breakdown.
body of knowledge on capital punishment, sexual harassment, punitive
damages, judge and jury decision making, bankruptcy,
and products liability owes much to research in the Cornell Law
School. The Law School has helped to shape this knowledge.
few examples include the leading empirical study of sexual
harassment litigation in the U.S.; innovative social
science research of
Cornell's Law School's Dealth Penalty Project for more than
a decade; and products liability reform.
scientists throughout Cornell conduct research on many aspects
of the human dimensions of global and local environmental challenges.
These researchers—often in collaboration with faculty in
the natural sciences and in association with the Center for the
Environment—look to societal, legal, institutional, and
behavioral factors to explain how environmental values and
behaviors shape the world around us, and how shifts in thinking
might help improve it.
portfolio of environmental social science research encompasses
a broad spectrum of social science fields. These
researchers consider different scales at which society and
the environment interact--international, national, regional,
a variety of contexts--watersheds, landscapes, protected
areas--employing a range of theories and methods.
knowledge grounded in the particulars of real events in real
places and times, disciplinary involutions in theory and method
run the risk of drifting away from robust conclusions, communicative
competence, and social relevance. Scholars rooted in the area-studies
tradition of social science celebrate grounded knowledge, yet
run the risk of isolation from an infinite regress into particularism: “not
in my village.” A great deal is lost from isolation and
Among the mechanisms to promote interdisciplinary work at Cornell,
the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies has been especially
effective across colleges and departments. Through support of
area-studies programs such as Southeast Asia or Latin America,
and thematic programs such as Gender and Global Change or Peace
Studies, the Einaudi Center encourages and supports interdisciplinarity.
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