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An ethnographic account of how organizational culture and leadership can shape a healthier financial system for banks.

Beunza, Daniel

Taking the Floor

Models, Morals, and Management in a Wall Street Trading Room


    57,95 € / $65.75 / £51.00*

    eBook (PDF)
    Publication Date:
    Copyright year:
    To be published:
    September 2019
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    Aims and Scope

    Debates about financial reform have led to the recognition that a healthy financial system doesn’t depend solely on how it is structured—organizational culture matters as well. Based on extensive research in a Wall Street derivatives trading room, Taking the Floor considers how the culture of financial organizations might change in order for them to remain healthy, even in times of crises. In particular, Daniel Beunza explores how the extensive use of financial models and trading technologies over the recent decades has exerted a far-ranging and troubling influence on Wall Street. How have models reshaped financial markets? How have models altered moral behavior in organizations?

    Beunza takes readers behind the scenes into a bank unit that, within its firm, is widely perceived to be “a class act” and he considers how this trading room unit might serve as a blueprint solution for the ills of Wall Street’s unsustainable culture. Beunza demonstrates that the integration of traders across desks reduces the danger of blind spots created by models. Warning against the risk of moral disengagement posed by the use of models, he also contends that such disengagement could be avoided by instituting moral norms and social relations.

    Providing a unique perspective on a complex subject, Taking the Floor profiles what an effective, responsible trading room can and should look like.


    336 pages
    27 b/w illus. 1 table.
    Professional and scholarly;College/higher education;

    More ...

    Daniel Beunza is an associate professor in the Cass Business School at City, University of London.


    "This is a remarkable look inside a Wall Street trading room through the years. The account of the organization of the trading room, its traders, and the methods and tools they use is compellingly told, and the level of engagement with the subjects is an extraordinary accomplishment."—Walter W. Powell, Stanford University

    "I am hugely enthusiastic about this engaging book. Beunza's original work has been influential in the social studies of finance and in Taking the Floor he introduces ideas clearly and with great skill. This is a significant contribution to the field."—Donald MacKenzie, University of Edinburgh

    "Beunza opens up the black box of a Wall Street trading room and reveals, surprisingly, a form of morality and governance grounded in unique face-to-face, trader-supervisor relationships. This book is high quality sociology at the front line of financial markets, with important lessons for the contemporary debate about banking culture."—Michael Power, London School of Economics and Political Science

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