Towards an organizational theory of hubris: symptoms, behaviours and social fields within finance and banking

Tourish, Dennis (2019) Towards an organizational theory of hubris: symptoms, behaviours and social fields within finance and banking. Organization. ISSN 1350-5084

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Abstract

Hubris has become a popular explanation for all kinds of business failure. It is often reduced to the one-dimensional notion of ‘over-confidence’, particularly on the part of CEOs. There is a need to clarify the extent to which other attitudes and behaviours constitute hubris, and how they are affected by such organisational dynamics as the struggle for power, status and material rewards between actors. This article explores these issues within the finance and banking sectors. It uses the Critical Incident Technique to identify behaviours associated with hubris and probes the interaction between them and the organisational contexts in which they occur. Five categories of behaviour based on an analysis of 101 incidents are described, as are a series of ‘inflection dynamics’ that reinforce the behaviours in question and constitute a social field conducive to hubris. I challenge the reductionist views that hubris is primarily a psychological state consisting mainly of ‘over-confidence’. This article seeks to complexify the term hubris and to develop an organisational rather than purely psychology theory of its emergence and institutionalisation within finance and banking.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Hubris; banking; over-confidence
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Business and Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Depositing User: Dennis Tourish
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2018 11:25
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2019 14:56
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/80750

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