Martins Iyoboyi, Latifa M Pedro
This case study offers an insider’s account of financial industry developments from 1999 to 2007 as emerging evidence of the global contagion of a mind-set and the effects of “reverse legitimacy”, or undue influence of powerful financial firms embracing this mind-set, upon societal institutions. The study seeks to explain why, despite clear indications that housing prices had inflated over the first decade of the millennium, that the expansion of credit had exploded, and that financial models on Wall Street – which are by definition, mathematical simplifications of real-world complexities that assume “normal” market conditions and thus do not factor for speculative bubbles or unexpected shocks to the system – financial and regulatory institutions remained confident that everything was basically under control. Loan data are provided as emerging evidence of conformity in industry behavior. Selected excerpts from letters to shareholders in the 2007 annual reports of six major banks are presented as partial evidence of cognitive impairment in organizational thinking in the years leading up to the banks’ financial collapse in 2008.
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