Banking compliance and dependence corruption: towards an attachment perspective

Kate Kenny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Why did banking compliance fail so badly in the recent financial crisis and why, according to many, does it continue to do so? Rather than point to the lack of oversight of individuals in bank compliance roles, as many commentators do, in this paper I examine in depth the organizational context that surrounded people in such roles. I focus on those compliance personnel who did speak out about risky practices in their banks, who were forced to escalate the problem and 'whistle-blow' to external parties, and who were punished for doing so. Drawing on recent empirical data from a wider study, I argue that the concept of dependence corruption is useful in this setting, and that it can be extended to encompass interpersonal attachments. This, in turn, problematises the concept of dependence corruption because interpersonal attachments in organisational settings are inevitable. The paper engages with recent debates on whether institutional corruption is an appropriate lens for studying private-sector organisations by arguing for a focus on roles, rather than remaining at the level of institutional fields or individual organisations. Finally, the paper contributes to studies on banking compliance in the context of the recent crisis; without a deeper understanding of those who were forced to extremes to simply do their jobs, reform of the banking sector will prove difficult.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-177
Number of pages13
JournalLaw and Financial Markets Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


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