After writing a paper about organizational change, a professor encouraged him to write about Wall Street.
“He said, ‘No one in sociology understands banks, so you can make a contribution in that area,’ ” Mr. Mandis said…
The essence of his argument is that Goldman came under a variety of pressures that resulted in slow, incremental changes to the firm’s culture and business practices, resulting in the place being much different from what it was in 1979, when the bank’s former co-head, John Whitehead, wrote its much-vaunted business principles.
These changes included the shift to a public company structure, a move that limited Goldman executives’ personal exposure to risk and shifted it to shareholders. The I.P.O. also put pressure on the bank to grow, causing trading to become a more dominant focus. And Goldman’s rapid growth led to more potential for conflicts of interest and not putting clients’ interests first, Mr. Mandis says.
More sociological analysis of the financial industry, particularly from the inside of important firms, is needed. Considering their outsized importance on the global economy as well as global cities, it is a little surprising such books aren’t more common.
The review is fairly favorable, calling the book “accessible” and “clearly written.” However, the review doesn’t hint at criticism of Goldman Sachs. Given the opinions of many sociologists, is that would many sociologists would expect when reading such a book?