IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Organisational culture and bank risk


  • Suss, Joel

    (Bank of England)

  • Bholat, David

    (Bank of England)

  • Gillespie, Alex

    (London School of Economics and Political Science)

  • Reader, Tom

    (London School of Economics and Political Science)


Existing research has largely relied on employee surveys to measure organisational culture despite the significant shortcomings of this approach. We use multiple, unobtrusive sources of data to gain rich insights into bank culture without ever having to ask employees to ‘show us your culture’. Our measure is based on 20 individual indicators from six different sources, including information on internal fraud cases, customer complaints, and the quality of regulatory submissions. We use this data to investigate the hypothesised relationship between organisational culture and bank risk. We find robust evidence that poor culture leads to substantially higher risk, demonstrating the importance of bank culture for prudential outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Suss, Joel & Bholat, David & Gillespie, Alex & Reader, Tom, 2021. "Organisational culture and bank risk," Bank of England working papers 912, Bank of England.
  • Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:0912

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David S. Lee & Justin McCrary & Marcelo J. Moreira & Jack Porter, 2022. "Valid t-Ratio Inference for IV," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 112(10), pages 3260-3290, October.
    2. Waring, Justin J., 2005. "Beyond blame: cultural barriers to medical incident reporting," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(9), pages 1927-1935, May.
    3. Marcelo J. Moreira, 2003. "A Conditional Likelihood Ratio Test for Structural Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1027-1048, July.
    4. A. Joanne Kellermann & Jakob de Haan & Femke de Vries (ed.), 2013. "Financial Supervision in the 21st Century," Springer Books, Springer, edition 127, number 978-3-642-36733-5.
    5. Sameer B. Srivastava & Amir Goldberg & V. Govind Manian & Christopher Potts, 2018. "Enculturation Trajectories: Language, Cultural Adaptation, and Individual Outcomes in Organizations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 64(3), pages 1348-1364, March.
    6. Graham, John R. & Grennan, Jillian & Harvey, Campbell R. & Rajgopal, Shivaram, 2022. "Corporate culture: Evidence from the field," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 552-593.
    7. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2015. "The value of corporate culture," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 60-76.
    8. Allen N. Berger & Sadok El Ghoul & Omrane Guedhami & Raluca A. Roman, 2017. "Internationalization and Bank Risk," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 63(7), pages 2283-2301, July.
    9. Berger, Allen N. & Li, Xinming & Morris, Charles S. & Roman, Raluca A., 2021. "The Effects of Cultural Values on Bank Failures around the World," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(3), pages 945-993, May.
    10. Ho, Daniel & Imai, Kosuke & King, Gary & Stuart, Elizabeth A., 2011. "MatchIt: Nonparametric Preprocessing for Parametric Causal Inference," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 42(i08).
    11. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    12. Gary B. Gorton & Jillian Grennan & Alexander K. Zentefis, 2022. "Corporate Culture," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 14(1), pages 535-561, November.
    13. George G. Gordon & Nancy DiTomaso, 1992. "Predicting Corporate Performance From Organizational Culture," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(6), pages 783-798, November.
    14. Demirgüç-Kunt, Asli & Huizinga, Harry, 2010. "Bank activity and funding strategies: The impact on risk and returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(3), pages 626-650, December.
    15. Meghan P. Leaver & Tom W. Reader, 2019. "Safety Culture in Financial Trading: An Analysis of Trading Misconduct Investigations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 154(2), pages 461-481, January.
    16. Suss, Joel & Treitel, Henry, 2019. "Predicting bank distress in the UK with machine learning," Bank of England working papers 831, Bank of England.
    17. Fama, Eugene F & Jensen, Michael C, 1983. "Separation of Ownership and Control," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 301-325, June.
    18. Ashraf, Badar Nadeem & Arshad, Sidra, 2017. "Foreign bank subsidiaries’ risk-taking behavior: Impact of home and host country national culture," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 318-335.
    19. Bholat, David & Gray, Joanna, 2013. "Organizational form as a source of systemic risk," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal (2007-2020), Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel), vol. 7, pages 1-35.
    20. Fiordelisi, Franco & Ricci, Ornella, 2014. "Corporate culture and CEO turnover," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 66-82.
    21. Goldberg, Amir & Srivastava, Sameer B & Manian, Govind & Monroe, William & Potts, Christopher, 2016. "Fitting In or Standing Out? The Tradeoffs of Structural and Cultural Embeddedness," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt9bf631rg, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    22. Power, Michael & Ashby, Simon & Palermo, Tommaso, 2013. "Risk culture in financial organisations: a research report," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 67978, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    23. Iacus, Stefano M. & King, Gary & Porro, Giuseppe, 2012. "Causal Inference without Balance Checking: Coarsened Exact Matching," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-24, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Barth, Andreas & Mansouri, Sasan, 2021. "Corporate culture and banking," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 186(C), pages 46-75.
    2. Fuxiu Jiang & Kenneth A. Kim & Yunbiao Ma & John R. Nofsinger & Beibei Shi, 2019. "Corporate Culture and Investment–Cash Flow Sensitivity," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 154(2), pages 425-439, January.
    3. Guilhem Bascle, 2008. "Controlling for endogeneity with instrumental variables in strategic management research," Post-Print hal-00576795, HAL.
    4. Wu, Meng-Wen & Shen, Chung Hua, 2019. "Effects of shadow banking on bank risks from the view of capital adequacy," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 176-197.
    5. Song, Fenghua & Thakor, Anjan V., 2019. "Bank culture," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 59-79.
    6. Krishnamurti, Chandrasekhar & Shams, Syed & Pensiero, Domenico & Velayutham, Eswaran, 2019. "Socially responsible firms and mergers and acquisitions performance: Australian evidence," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 57(C).
    7. Bianchi, Nicola & Carretta, Alessandro & Farina, Vincenzo & Fiordelisi, Franco, 2021. "Does espoused risk culture pay? Evidence from European banks," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 122(C).
    8. Ben Abdesslem, Rim & Chkir, Imed & Dabbou, Halim, 2022. "Is managerial ability a moderator? The effect of credit risk and liquidity risk on the likelihood of bank default," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 80(C).
    9. Huimin (Amy) Chen & Bill B. Francis & Tahseen Hasan & Qiang Wu, 2022. "Does corporate culture impact audit pricing? Evidence from textual analysis," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(5-6), pages 778-806, May.
    10. Leon Zolotoy & Don O’Sullivan & Keke Song, 2021. "The Role of Ethical Standards in the Relationship Between Religious Social Norms and M&A Announcement Returns," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 170(4), pages 721-742, May.
    11. Brogi, Marina & Lagasio, Valentina, 2022. "Better safe than sorry. Bank corporate governance, risk-taking, and performance," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 44(C).
    12. Kube, Roland & von Graevenitz, Kathrine & Löschel, Andreas & Massier, Philipp, 2019. "Do voluntary environmental programs reduce emissions? EMAS in the German manufacturing sector," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(S1).
    13. Renneboog, L.D.R. & Szilagyi, P.G., 2009. "Shareholder Activism through the Proxy Process," Other publications TiSEM cc25d736-2965-4511-b100-1, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    14. Frame, W. Scott & Mihov, Atanas & Sanz, Leandro, 2020. "Foreign Investment, Regulatory Arbitrage, and the Risk of U.S. Banking Organizations," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(3), pages 955-988, May.
    15. Francesco Gangi & Antonio Meles & Eugenio D'Angelo & Lucia Michela Daniele, 2019. "Sustainable development and corporate governance in the financial system: Are environmentally friendly banks less risky?," Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 26(3), pages 529-547, May.
    16. Wu, Ji & Guo, Mengmeng & Chen, Minghua & Jeon, Bang Nam, 2019. "Market power and risk-taking of banks: Some semiparametric evidence from emerging economies," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).
    17. Shaun M. Dougherty, 2018. "The Effect of Career and Technical Education on Human Capital Accumulation: Causal Evidence from Massachusetts," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 13(2), pages 119-148, Spring.
    18. Paul Tanyi & David B. Smith & Xiaoyan Cheng, 2021. "Does firm payout policy affect shareholders’ dissatisfaction with directors?," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 57(1), pages 279-320, July.
    19. Meyer, Maximilian & Hulke, Carolin & Kamwi, Jonathan & Kolem, Hannah & Börner, Jan, 2022. "Spatially heterogeneous effects of collective action on environmental dependence in Namibia’s Zambezi region," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 159(C).
    20. Zhaorui Guo & Kam C. Chan & Yunkui Xue, 2016. "The Impact of Corporate Culture Disclosure on Performance: A Quantitative Approach," Review of Pacific Basin Financial Markets and Policies (RPBFMP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 19(02), pages 1-29, June.

    More about this item


    Culture; bank risk; supervision;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:0912. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Digital Media Team (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.