Donald A. Palmer
Faculty Profile

Donald A. Palmer
Professor

Research Expertise: The causes, processes, and consequences of wrongdoing in and by organizations, and the role of power and politics in corporate decision making.

Consulting: Community health needs assessments, group decision-making facilitation.

Professor Donald Palmer studies why otherwise law-abiding, ethical and socially responsible people participate in wrongful courses of behavior. His conclusions are based on an understanding of basic psychological, social psychological, and sociological processes that shape human behavior.

Palmer has written and edited works that develop theory about the causes, processes, and consequences of misconduct in and by organizations. These include:

  • 2008 Palmer, Donald. “Extending the Process Model of Collective Organizational Wrongdoing,” Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. 28: 107-135
  • 2010 Greve, Henrich, Palmer, Donald, and Jo-Ellen Pozner, “Organizations Gone Wild: The Causes, Processes, and Consequences of Misconduct in and by Organizations,” Academy of Management Annals, Vol. 4. No. 1: 53-107.
  • 2012 Palmer, Donald, Normal Organizational Wrongdoing, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. (winner of the Academy of Management, Social Issues in Management Division, Best Book Award for 2013)
  • 2013 Palmer, Donald, “The New Perspective on Organizational Wrongdoing,” California Management Review, 56(1): 5-23.
  • 2016 Organizational Wrongdoing: Key Perspectives and New Directions, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, co-edited with Royston Greenwood and Kristin Smith-Crowe.
  • 2016 Palmer, Donald, Kristin Smith-Crowe and Royston Greenwood, “The imbalances and limitations of theory and research on organizational wrongdoing,” in Donald Palmer, Kristin Smith-Crowe and Royston Greenwood (eds.), Organizational Wrongdoing: Key Perspectives and New Directions, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-16.
  • 2016 Palmer, Donald and Celia Moore, “Social networks and organizational wrongdoing in context,” in Donald Palmer, Kristin Smith-Crowe and Royston Greenwood (eds.), Organizational Wrongdoing: Key Perspectives and New Directions, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 203-234.
  • 2017 Palmer, Donald, “Institutions, institutional theory and organizational wrongdoing” in Royston Greenwood, Christine Oliver, Thomas Lawrence, and Renate E. Meyer (eds.), The Sage Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism, 2e, NY: Sage Publications, Ltd., pp. 737-758.

Palmer also has conducted research in three substantive areas: the adjudication of workplace safety violations in agricultural enterprises, the use of banned performance enhancing drugs in professional cycling, and child sexual abuse in youth-serving organizations from juvenile prisons to sports clubs. The publications from this work include:

  • 2014 Palmer, Donald, “The Politics of Right and Wrong: Attributing Fault in Organizational Accidents,” Exploring Central Questions in Organizational Wrongdoing: A Micro/Macro Approach, Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Philadelphia.
  • 2015 Palmer, Donald and Christopher Yenkey, “Drugs, sweat, and gears: An organizational analysis of the use of banned performance enhancing substances in advance of the 2010 Tour de France,” Social Forces, 94(2): 891-922.
  • 2016 Palmer, Donald (in collaboration with Valerie Feldman and Gemma McKibbin), “The role of organizational culture in child sexual abuse in institutional contexts,” Sydney, Australia: The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, December (ISBN 978-1-925289-92- 3).
  • 2017 Palmer, Donald and Valerie Feldman, “Toward a more comprehensive analysis of the role of organizational culture in child sexual abuse in institutional contexts,” Child Abuse and Neglect, Vol. 74: 23-34.
  • 2017 Palmer, Donald and Valerie Feldman, Comprehending the Incomprehensible: Child Sexual Abuse in Organizations. An Organization Theory Perspective, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, co-authored with Valery Feldman (Forthcoming).

Palmer brings his research findings to the classroom in two courses: The Causes of Organizational Wrongdoing and Power and Influence in Management. In recent years, Palmer has presented his research at a number of universities, including: Oxford University, INSEAD-Fontainebleau, The Medici Summer School in Florence, The University of New South Wales, Harvard University, Boston College, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, New York University and the University of California, Berkeley. He has served as Distinguished Visiting Scholar at INSEAD in France. Palmer served as the editor of Administrative Science Quarterly from 2002-08. He formerly coordinated the UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders, an annual study of women’s participation in management and on the board of the 400 largest California corporations.

Palmer earned his Ph.D. and M.A. in sociology from State University of New York. He received his B.S. in molecular biology from University of Wisconsin, Madison.