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About this book

This Palgrave Pivot explores the recent financial crisis from a new perspective. Reflecting on 40 years of banking experiences, the book will open new avenues to understanding banking and comment on possible ways to rehabilitate banking organisations.

In 1965 the Bank of Ireland received a consultancy report from McKinsey & Company, which heralded a new phase in banking practice and organisation. In the years that followed, the Bank of Ireland opened up its once traditional culture to outside influences changing the way work was done and workers were viewed. Direct competition was introduced alongside specialisation of roles, and hence college education was identified as the way to meet demands of the market and bankers began to develop a full suite of products to keep customers loyal. The once professional bank manager who was a guardian of good practice eventually became absorbed into the needs of the leviathan organisation. The end result is an unimaginable and interlinked financial crisis in 2008 that swept across Ireland and the globe.

This book explores banking organisation and practice as it transforms and across the period from 1960 to 2018. It argues that organisational goals over individual responsibility paved the pathway towards crisis. Organisationally, anxiety and fear of failure took the place of certainty and stability. While the financial crisis is coming to an end, banking organisations remains fragile and prone to influences that may lead them towards a path of continuous cycles of boom and bust. Such a state has the potential to create an unending cycle of boom and bust and the end of stability and the institution of banking. This book shines a light on that and will be of interest to banking and finance researchers, students, and practitioners.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
This chapter introduces the book by questioning the identity of the contemporary banker. Returning to the beginning of the research period of the 1960s–2000s, this chapter explores the many social and economic changes in Ireland and globally that have influenced the changing nature of work. Drawing on the theoretical explorations that are used later in the book, a brief overview is provided on how the world of bank work has become transformed and how this has influenced the culture that is now present in banking.
Aisling Tuite

Chapter 2. Making the Break

Abstract
Setting the scene for deeper discussions on the transformations to banking, this chapter explores elements of economic and social change. Primarily drawing on post-war and post-protectionist developments, it presents the networks of influence between societal transformations, concepts of work and organisation-worker relationships. Turning towards the Bank more specific details of organisational change are discussed with the introduction of management consultants and new demographics of externally educated workers. The Bank as an open and modernising organisation is the driving force behind the discussion on how to rehabilitate banks.
Aisling Tuite

Chapter 3. An Era of Transformation in the Banking Industry

Abstract
This chapter introduces the stories from the transforming Bank. The experiences of transformation are often sudden but bring with it a new-found freedom and the opening up of career paths. It is through these stories that a deeper understanding of change to the Bank’s culture and identity can be understood. Traced through the change in the workers’ social life from game to play the tensions and changing roles of the workers and the organisation can be explored. Play moves from simply social interactions to organised game as selling and competition become part of the landscape of banking. Moving even closer to professionalisation and individualisation, the cues that are needed to develop successful identities become ‘soft’ and ambiguous.
Aisling Tuite

Chapter 4. The Modern Bank Workers

Abstract
As the transformations in the Bank continue the tensions between the traditional and contemporary ways are experienced by the workers. New types of workers appear as the Bank focuses on development and education programmes. These programmes fuel new ideas from outside and introduce new ways within the organisation. Over time many of the decentralised opportunities become recentralised and once again new pressures are felt on the workers as they negotiate their identities. Careers are no longer husbanded and workers become individualised and professionalised, taking on aspects of the traditional professional occupation. This individualisation is spurred on by new goal-based performance management that pitches colleagues against each other.
Aisling Tuite

Chapter 5. Transformations of Care and Community

Abstract
The move from community to individual is explored in this chapter. Newer workers are often described as being less loyal; however, loyalty is closely associated with care and commitment. The Bank and its workers have experienced a shift in the care relationship and this has had consequences on the perception of a successful worker. In the modern world communities are being broken up and mechanical societies are being transformed into organic societies which place bonds of contract over bonds of social cohesion. The break-up of communities leads to anomie where workers scramble to fit into the new fragmented societies with little indication of how to be successful. Organisation boundaries have become flexible and loose allowing external influences to determine their character. These are the features of the contemporary transformed organisation that must face new high-tech challenges.
Aisling Tuite

Chapter 6. On Memories and Rehabilitation

Abstract
In this concluding chapter the concept of work as a performance is explored. Performances can be unmasked, as happened when the GFC descended. Performances are also linked to the wellbeing of workers as they try to negotiate their way in ambiguous circumstances. But what happens when these performances come to be questioned? For the workers they reflect and become nostalgic about what was good in the bank. They have feelings of litost that can be dispelled only through identifying what was good about the traditional Bank. This allows the identification of the lost art of banking, the values that they hold most dear. In summing up the book the argument turns towards recreating strong organisational boundaries and workers who emulate the apprentice-style of old, those that can form strong moral and social bonds to lead the banks of the future. These banks should look to these values and consider their utility and service to their customers over their need to perpetuate the profit imperative.
Aisling Tuite

Backmatter

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