Financial services and social structures: a comparative analysis
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Although there is an increasing interest in social sciences amongst policy makers in financial services and investment organisations, not enough is known about the way financial organisations and activities interact with their social environments. In particular, there is a need for more research into the way financial activities are integrated into broader social structures. This thesis will report on a comparative study analysing the practices of financial organisations and their employees in two very different social environments: the UK and Chile. From 38 in-depth interviews with financial practitioners in London, Edinburgh and Santiago de Chile about their job trajectories and experiences, it was possible to analyse the practices of financial organisations in the UK and Chile, with an emphasis on the way they interact with global financial trends and local distributions of power and resources. A sociological account of organisational processes such as recruitment, socialisation, staff allocation, promotion and organisation of work within firms in these countries allowed for description and analysis of the way firms’ practices are related to their social (structural, symbolic and institutional) contexts. The research shows that Chile’s position in the global financial market and local distribution of resources encourage more traditional organisational practices, especially in terms of recruitment, socialisation, staff allocation and promotion, as well as activities performed and the way services are provided. In the UK, on the other hand, all of the above-mentioned processes are more technical, formally designed and competitive.