Banking on Change: Aligning Culture and Compensation at Morgan Stanley

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Publication Date:
July 21, 2016

Harvard Business School

This case study was prepared as part of a research project on Culture, Conduct, and Governance in Financial Firms. The objective of this project is to compare and contrast the efforts of U.S. and European banks to induce changes in organization culture in the aftermath of the 2008 financial . Since this , wide ranging regulations aimed at improving risk management and bankers’ ethics have been promulgated in the United States and in , and more rules are currently under discussion. Academics, regulators, and public officials have proposed many of these measures. At the same time, banks have been implementing their own company-tailored culture change programs. This project and the Morgan Stanley case in particular describes these change programs and banks’ experience with them so far-with particular attention being paid to how banks are using compensation and other incentives to change and reinforce organization culture and conduct. One of the central questions of this case is whether or not the voluntary efforts of Morgan Stanley to strengthen their conduct and culture will prove to be “effective” or “adequate” according to bank regulators and the general public. This case lends itself to analysis and discussion in a variety of related graduate-level courses dealing with the management of financial institutions, financial regulation, corporate governance, organization behavior, and corporate accountability and ethics.

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Banking on Change: Aligning Culture and Compensation at Morgan Stanley

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