King's College London

Research portal

Groups, social processes and decision making in finance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Alexandru Preda, Gulnur Muradoglu

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-455
JournalQualitative Research in Financial Markets
Volume11
Issue number4
Early online date4 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2019

Documents

King's Authors

Abstract

Purpose: This paper aims to investigate a double puzzle, empirical and theoretical. Empirically, can the authors document the influence of groups on financial decisions in investments and trading? Theoretically, if decisions in a group context can be documented, how can we account for them, against the background of the normative models, according to which financial decisions are individualized and atomized? Based on interviews and ethnographic observations with fund managers, analysts and traders, the authors document here decision-making in finance. Theoretically, the authors argue that financial decisions can be explained if, in addition to cognitive processes, the authors take into account the impact of social interactions on the decision-making process. Social interactions are not restricted to imitation processes, and can be seen here as the efforts deployed by decision-makers at maintaining and managing the context of their decisions. The authors present and discuss empirical evidence and argue that the study of social interactions can productively contribute to understanding how decisions are made in finance. Design/methodology/approach: The data analyzed here have been gathered between 2001 and 2011, and include: interviews with investment professionals (fund managers and analysts) from the UK and Turkey; interviews with individual investors from the UK and the USA; and observations with individual investors from the UK and the USA. This captures decision activities conducted in different regulatory frameworks of those countries. The authors focussed in the interviews on general decision-making practices. Findings: Conclusion the authors have sought to answer a double puzzle, empirical and theoretical. Empirically, the puzzle is how investors and traders resort to groups in their decision-making. Theoretically, the puzzle consists not only in providing an explanation for such processes but also in taking into account that they do not fit the normative models of decisions in mainstream finance. The argument has been that in addition to the cognitive processes identified and discussed in behavioural finance, the authors need to take into account the impact of social processes as well. Social processes include the efforts deployed by financial decision-makers at maintaining and managing the contexts within which decisions are made. The work of context maintenance is intrinsic to the logic of decision-making. The authors have identified, documented and discussed here the social dynamics in financial decisions with respect to performance, managing group relationships and possible conflicts. Originality/value: Managing relationships within groups is not without consequences with regard to trading decisions. Oftentimes, avoiding group conflicts – or being confronted with them – leads to decisional adjustments, which have less to do with returns on trades than with the necessity of accommodating social relationships. As several of the interviewees emphasized, making decisions implies consensus and reaching consensus requires accommodating relationships.

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454