Sub-Theme 23: Stigma, Pathologies and Other Apocalyptic Dynamics in the Wake of an Unsustainable Financial World
Lund University, Sweden
Mário Aquino Alves
FGV-EAESP, São Paulo, Brazil
Stockholm School of Economics
Sweden and Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.
Call for papers
The financial sector has traditionally been positioned on a trusted pedestal. People put on their Sunday clothing when visiting the bank, trusting the bank with their hard earned money. An aura of authority and reliable care-taking of pecuniary assets characterized the financial sector identity. While this public image of banks and pensions funds may have evolved over time and geographies, the global financial crisis anno 2007 significantly shifted the publics’ positioning of the entire sector, and its license to operate has been debated ever since (Dejéan, Gond and Leca, 2013; Herzig and Moon, 2013). Today the financial sector finds itself in a ‘meaning crisis’, being exposed to distrust and stigmatization, it remains fundamentally challenged on its role as a legitimate and responsible sector in society. Banks, including their managers and employees, are increasingly stigmatized and perceived as excessively self-interested, greedy and unethical (Roulet, 2015; Stanley, Davey & Symon, 2014). The recent Panama Leaks further reinforced the public criticism of the sector’s focus on capital wins for its own good with disregard for ethical business conduct. Narratives of bonus driven sales practices, and short term focused cultures has circulated in the media and further been emphasised in popular fiction with movies such as The Wolf of Wall Street. In this subtheme we invite contributions to investigate the implications for the financial sector itself of its tarnished and challenged identity.
The public stigmatisation of banks as a sin industry (Grougiou, Dedoulis and Leventis (2015) stands in stark contrast to the banks’ self-perception and strategically communicated values of professionalism, competence, integrity. Also, it challenges what used to be a lucrative business. Competition has increased, as corporations such as retail chains now offer financial services to their customers. Fintech companies and insuretech firms offer competitive investment services and insurance policies based on new technologies. China’s first digital-only insurance company is said to have written more than 630 million insurance policies since 2013. The financial crisis has not only left the financial industry in economic turmoil, the established master narrative of the financial sector has been and is still significantly challenged by a myriad of counter-narratives from a variety of stakeholder pressures. Politicians, regulators, investors, consumer associations, and the media question the fundamental purpose and legitimacy of the financial sector in society. As such, the ‘meaning crisis’ is significantly challenging the financial sector’s self-narration and understanding of ‘who we are’ and ‘what we do’.
In this subtheme we invite scholars to use organization, management, communication and/or cultural studies, including theories and concepts of identity, CSR, strategy, governance or psycho-analysis to investigate and analyse organizational dynamics post-crisis in the financial sector. More specifically, we are interested in both the successful initiatives around developing responsible management practices in the financial sector, as well as developing ideas around potential pathologies (e.g. paranoia, undesired selves, narcissism, megalomania, etc.) to account for the multiple ways in which organizations in the financial sector makes sense of its own identity and role in society. We encourage submission which debate the question of what constitute (ir)responsible financial business after the global financial crisis.
There are several avenues of scholarship that seem highly relevant, we outline some below:
Integration of CSR into the financial sector’s business strategies in the wake of the financial crisis
Responsibility and irresponsibility in the financial sector
New business models (e.g. green bonds, screening, clean investments)
The social ir/responsibilities of fintech
The organizational implications of corruption for the financial sector
Scandals, reframing and greenwashing the financial sector identity
Stigmatization of and within the financial sector
Pathological dynamics and discourses of the financial organizations
Fantasy and disillusions within the financial sector
Déjean, F., Gond, J. P., & Leca, B. (2004). Measuring the unmeasured: An institutional entrepreneur strategy in an emerging industry. Human relations, 57(6), 741-764.
Grougiou, V., Dedoulis, E., & Leventis, S. (2016). Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting and Organizational Stigma: The Case of “Sin” Industries. Journal of Business Research, 69(2), 905-914.
Herzig, C., & Moon, J. (2013). Discourses on corporate social ir/responsibility in the financial sector. Journal of Business Research, 66(10), 1870-1880.
Roulet, T. (2015). “What good is Wall Street?” Institutional contradiction and the diffusion of the stigma over the finance industry. Journal of Business Ethics, 130(2), 389-402.
Stanley, L., Mackenzie Davey, K., & Symon, G. (2014). Exploring media construction of investment banking as dirty work. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, 9(3), 270-287.