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Bentley Professor Named Fulbright Scholar


Bentley Professor Named Fulbright Scholar

Professor Cynthia Clark Will Research Ethics and Corporate Governance in Spain

Cynthia Clark, Associate Professor, Management, has been named a Fulbright Scholar for the academic year 2016-2017. She will study ethics and corporate governance in Spain, and will be hosted by both the University of Valencia and the Polytechnic University of Valencia.


Bentley associate professor named Fulbright Scholar will study ethics and corp. governance in Spain



Professor Clark’s research focuses on three main components:

  1. Surveying students in various countries (including Spain and the United States) to see whether and how ethics education impacts their ethical reasoning. Seniors at Bentley University will be part of the survey set.
  2. Comparing the efficacy of “soft laws” vs. “hard laws” when it comes to corporate governance and the presence of women on corporate boards. Professor Clark will especially contrast Norway—which takes a “hard law” regulatory approach—with Spain—which deploys “soft laws” and voluntary participation—to see which methods are most effective at increasing women’s representation on boards.
  3. Examining the selection process for corporate directors—women in particular—once again with a contrast between methods employed in Spain and in other countries, principally the United States.

Clark explains that Spain is considered an “ethics-unfriendly environment” in the context of her research, one without a long history or culture of corporate ethics, corporate governance, or regulation. “The infrastructure supporting ethics and governance in Spain has been generally weaker than in the US,” she says, “which makes Spain a very rich environment for doing this kind of research.” In Spain, the soft law approach has written these concerns into governance reform documents in the form of recommendations, not requirements, for great gender diversity on boards.

However, these recommendations are in fact at the federal level in Spain, where there are attempts to define gender diversity relative to 2015 goals.  In the U.S. the definition of diversity remains at the organizational level. In that sense, Clark observes, “these recommendations might have a bit more force in Spain than the organizational level efforts have in the U.S.”

Clark will conduct extensive interviews with corporate directors while in Spain, working with scholars at the University of Valencia and the Polytechnic University of Valencia.  She’ll also meet with PhD students at each institution and offer lectures on her work. Each of these schools is trying to advance ethics research on their own, via the Institute for Ethics in Communication and Organizations (IECO), and Professor Clark’s Fulbright allows her to be hosted by each of them to create a more effective, international, research team. Currently, a researcher from the University of Valencia is a visiting scholar at Bentley University’s Center for Business Ethics, and Professor Clark’s Fulbright will allow this international collaboration to continue. Professor Clark is one of only 11 Fulbright Scholars who will be working in Spain this year.

“Governance and ethics research in general is very US-centric,” Clark explains, “but taking the comparative approach is very useful. We need to broaden our worldview to better understand what works and what doesn’t.”


"We need to broaden our worldview to better understand what works and what doesn’t."




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