• When an Irresistible force meets an immovable object: The interplay of agency and structure in the UK financial crisis

      Ashby, Simon; Peters, Linda; Devlin, James (Journal of Business Research, 2014)
      The study sheds light on why certain financial institutions exposed themselves, and the financial system as a whole, to excessive risk. The study examines the human side of the crisis and its relationship to certain organizational and sector-wide practices dominant at the time. The study draws on pre-existing insights from the field of crisis management, and use structuration theory to explore the inter-relationships between the micro- and macro-factors that contributed to the crisis. Structuration theory allows exploration of how the irresistible force of human agency and the immovable object of situational imperatives together provide an understanding of how and why the crisis occurred. The study argues that the crisis was largely due to failures in the implementation of certain risk management processes. The research findings challenge the notion that greater regulatory prescription and capital requirements are required, or that simple solutions such as caps on bonus payments will prove effective. Rather, implementing enhancements in the risk management and governance practices of financial institutions and their regulators is necessary, together with facilitating mechanisms that support cultural change.