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Speaking out in banking and finance-- Institutional and organizational frameworks

Speaking out in banking and finance-- Institutional and organizational frameworks

PhD project title and outline, including interdisciplinary dimension:
Speaking out in banking and finance-- Institutional and organizational frameworks

Outline: The recent economic crisis has had profound and crippling consequences for economies and societies across Europe. Institutions and governments have called for more open and transparent workplaces in financial organizations, specifically involving reform of organizational cultures. Without a deeper understanding of the processes and practices involved in ‘speaking out’, this reform will prove difficult, while the effectiveness of policy responses could be impeded.  In response, this project will examine perspectives of employees in this sector in relation to new organizational and policy initiatives that ostensibly encourage speaking out.

The questions asked are: what are the institutional frameworks and organizational dynamics (e.g. corporate governance, leadership styles, job security, openness, tolerance of corruption), and individual processes of identity and accountability that enable individuals in this sector to disclose unethical behaviors and wrongdoing?, and: How might legal and policy frameworks be designed so as to facilitate these issues?

This research is multidisciplinary spanning the fields of Management Studies (supervisor 1) and Law (supervisor 2). It adopts a multi-level (i.e. organisational and individual), multi-method (document analysis, qualitative interviews, surveys) case study approach.

The project incorporates exposure to industry and relevant sectors for the chosen student. It involves examining policy makers’ views regarding the implementation of existing transparency and Speak-up policies and partner organizations have been identified via Transparency International’s business integrity network, Whistleblowers UK and Public Concern at Work UK.

The project’s contributions are as follows: existing academic approaches leave gaps in our understanding as few studies have specifically targeted the issue of speaking out in contemporary institutions. Even fewer offer analyses across levels, for example linking macro policy developments and other institutional factors, to the meso levels of organizational culture and structure, and in turn considering these alongside the micro-level concepts of identity work and accountability which become particularly salient at moments of crisis. 

Primary supervisor: Professor Kate Kenny (Queen's Management School)
Secondary supervisor: Dr Ciarán O’Kelly (Law)
External Partner/Organisation: U.S.: Government Accountability ProjectWhistleblowers UK and PCAW, Transparency International Ireland