1. Ron Kerr

    1. The Open University, UK, r.g.kerr{at}open.ac.uk


This paper addresses the question of the apparent auto-destructive behaviour of the leaders of the Scottish banks in the period
2005—2008. We apply Bourdieu’s concepts of field, habitus and capital to a corpus of textual sources to identify how leaders
of these organisations competed with each other for leadership capital. We therefore show, through analysis of a series of
historically situated crises, how competition between senior banking leaders for positions of domination within the field
of elite banking in Scotland, the UK and globally, eventually contributed to the destruction of the banks themselves as independent
institutions. We believe that this Bourdieusian approach to leader—leader relations can offer some explanation of the apparently
‘irrational’ behaviours of the banking leaders in the economic crisis of 2005—2008.

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Leadership as an elite field: Scottish banking leaders and the crisis of 2007-2009