Dr. Tim Bonowski


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Research summary:


My research focuses on the intersection of business ethics, behavioral economics and strategic management. Central to my research is the question how social and moral norms influence behavior and how these effects can be leveraged to set incentives for stable trust, legitimate norms, and cooperation. At the level of organizations, I explore how firms can act as norm entrepreneurs to strategically set behavioral expectations in competitive environments. At the individual level, I use experimental paradigms from psychology and economics to elicit moral decisions, focusing specifically on the effects of communication on honesty and trust.


Recent publication:


Morality and trust in impersonal relationships

Journal of Economic Psychology, 2022

Co-author: Gerhard Minnameier (Goethe University Frankfurt)


Summary: We conduct an experiment that offers participants the opportunity to give morally relevant feedback in ten trust games with random re-matching and under anonymity. In comparison with the original trust game, we find higher levels of both trust and trustworthiness in the augmented game. We also find that these levels remain stable when moral communication is available.

Methods:   Incentive compatible computer based lab experiment.


Conference contributions:



“Honesty at a Distance: No Effect of Technologically Mediated Communication on Honesty”, Society for Business Ethics Annual Conference, Boston (accepted)

“Bridge Builders and Privacy Cops: Divergent Paths of Corporate Norm Entrepreneurship among Tech”, with Anton Peez
Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Boston (accepted)


Invited discussant for talks by Kirsten Martin and Andreas Scherer
Transatlantic Business Ethics Conference, Vienna.


“Morality and Trust in Impersonal Relationships”, with Gerhard Minnameier
Society for Business Ethics Annual Conference, held online.

“Morality and Trust in Impersonal Relationships”, with Gerhard Minnameier
Jahrestagung des Vereins für Socialpolitik 2021: Climate Economics, held online.

“Inclusive and Exclusive Norm Entrepreneurship”
Invited talk at Institute for Business Ethics and Sustainable Strategy, Vienna.


“Trust at a Distance – Moralkommunikation in anonymen Vertrauensbeziehungen”,
Jahrestagung der Sektion Berufs- und Wirtschaftspädagogik der DGfE 2020, online.


“Norm Entrepreneurship in the Pursuit of a Business Case:
A Case Study of Divergent Paths among Tech Firms”,
with Anton Peez
Society for Business Ethics Annual Conference, Boston (MA).

“Smart morality: Happy victimizing, moral hypocrisy, and moral resilience in a game-theoretic context”, with Gerhard Minnameier
European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction, Aachen.

“Bridge Builders and Privacy Cops: Incentives for Corporate Norm Entrepreneurship in the Tech Industry”, with Anton Peez
13th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, Sofia.


“Moral Decision Making as Inference from Self Models”,
Model-Based Reasoning in Science and Technology, Sevilla.