An empirical investigation into the corporate culture of UK listed banks

Paul Cox, Diandra Soobiah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
243 Downloads (Pure)


This paper reports findings from investor engagement into corporate culture at UK listed banks. In 2014 and 2015 interviews with bank practitioners revealed the following six elements as fundamental to improving bank culture; simplification of the business, corporate purpose, organisational culture, staff in the business, customer experience, and focus and engagement by the Chair of the board. The study designed baselines to capture where banks are in absolute and relative terms in relation to the six elements. Culture performance over the 24 months of the study was examined.
Banks that made most improvement during the investigation activated culture predominantly within the business by empowering the department most apt to handle it. Centring the culture programme within the business was associated with a focus on the middle and the grassroots level of the organisation. Banks that made least improvement activated culture principally ‘from the top’. Centring the culture programme at the top was associated with a focus on control, conformance, and structure. The finding of relatively greater performance when culture programmes were activated within the business contrasts sharply with recommendations from regulators and conventional wisdom that the establishment of corporate culture is necessarily a top down exercise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-134
JournalJournal of Financial Regulation and Compliance
Issue number1
Early online date31 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2018


  • investment management
  • pension funds
  • culture
  • metrics
  • conduct
  • measures
  • banks


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