Friday 11 Sep 2020
⏰ MELBOURNE TIME
5.00 – 7.00 pm
⏰ LOCAL TIME
Mr Ajit Menon
Organisational Consultant, Blacklight Advisory Ltd, UK
Ajit is an organisational psychologist and consultant with a specialist background in leadership, behavioural and cultural change. He has worked within the financial services globally in the areas of organisational culture and change. He is a process consulting expert adept at working with groups experiencing transition and change. He is also an experienced workshop facilitator with extensive expertise in helping groups solve complex problems and in the running of creative design processes. He has worked with senior teams and executives as a coach and consultant globally. He has also taught Organisation Development at the London School of Economics.
The financial services; A jewel in the crown or poison chalice
Following the global financial crash of 2008, there was much speculation on the way individuals who worked in the industry exploited a system for personal. In the years following the crash the industry has gone through remediation, fines and large-scale restructuring. However, some of the behaviours that were highlighted as a cause of the crash such as arrogance, greed and hubris are still surfacing in the industry.
This paper explores the culture of the UK Financial Services and will have applicability across the globe. Using the anchoring concept of the phantastic object (Taffler and Tuckett 2003) (Taffler & Tuckett, 2003) the paper explores the positioning of financial services within the wider societal context. The paper describes some of the conscious and unconscious factors that impacts individuals and creates a culture unique to the industry. It explores the reason why people are drawn to financial services as a career and what happens once they find themselves on the inside. The author argues that the positioning of the industry within society creates the conditions that give rise to the behaviours we have seen. And, the complexity of these dynamics is not restricted to the industry alone but are a product of the wider system within which the industry exists. Whilst the paper does not absolve individuals of wrongdoing, it explores some of the systemic reasons that could lead individuals to engage in the behaviours we have witnessed in the industry. It argues that in order for interventions to be effective they need to take into account the unconscious systemic dynamics. Merely focussing on ‘above the surface’ structural solutions will not impact what are deep rooted, unconscious cultural issues. Some recommendations for impactful systemic interventions are suggested.
Taffler, R., & Tuckett, D. (2003). Internet stocks as “phantasmic objects”: A psychoanalytic interpretation of shareholder valuation during dot.com mania. In Boom or bust? The equity market crisis: Lessons for asset managers and their clients (pp. 150-162). London: European Asset Management Association.
Nagel, C. (2012). Money as a fetish. Towards a socio analysis of money. S. Long and B. Sievers. Abingdon, United Kingdom, Routledge.
Menon, A. (2019). Reframing blame in financial services. The unconscious at work. A. Obholzer and V. Z. Roberts. London, Routledge: 229-240.
Luyendijk, J. (2015). Riding the Bull; How the city ignored lessons of the crash. The Guardian. London, Guardian: 27-29.
Gapper, J. (2011). How to be a rogue trader, Penguin
Introduction by Dr Claudia Nagel
Small group discussion; impressions of the paper and developing questions for the presenter
Discussion forum with the presenter; moderated for the speaker to elaborate their ideas
Small group activity or discussion ‘What does this paper tell us about working into the future?’
Discussion forum with the presenter; themes from the discussions