No body to kick, no soul to damn : responsibility and accountability for the financial crisis (2007-2010)
Title: No body to kick, no soul to damn : responsibility and accountability for the financial crisis (2007-2010)
Author: NICOL, Olivia
Citation: Journal of business ethics, 2018, Vol. 151, No. 1, pp. 101-114
ISSN: 0167-4544; 1573-0697
This article takes the 2008-2010 financial crisis as a case study to explore the tension between responsibility and accountability in complex crises. I analyze the patterns of attribution and assumption of responsibility of thirty-three bankers in Wall Street, interviewed from fall 2008 to summer 2010. First, I show that responsibility for complex failures cannot be easily attributed or assumed: responsibility becomes diluted within the collective. Actors can only assume collective responsibility, recognizing that they belong to an institution at fault. Second, I show that blaming is a social process that should be examined contextually, relationally, and dynamically. I build on sociological theories to depart from the normative focus of philosophers, and the cognitive focus of psychologists, who have dominated the study of responsibility so far.
Subject: Attribution of responsibility; Assumption of responsibility; Accounts; Financial crisis; Corporate social irresponsibility; Group entitativity; Attribution; Accounts; Model; Organization; Failures; Business; Bankers; Roles
First online: 02 August 2016
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