“It’s the most ethical job I have ever had”: Complaint handling and fair decision making in the financial industry
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Williams, J., Gill, C. & McBurnie, G. (2021) '“It’s the most ethical job I have ever had”: Complaint handling and fair decision making in the financial industry', International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics, 15(4), pp. 357-375.
This exploratory study focuses on complaint handling in the financial industry to explore how complaint handling professionals interpret the requirement to treat customers fairly. Drawing on a small qualitative case study undertaken with a major UK financial institution, it is a novel attempt to integrate the literatures on ethical and fair decision making and apply them to the practice of complaint handling. Our contribution is to highlight: (1) the impact that institutional structures and processes play on the day to day practice of fair decision making; (2) how constructions of fairness vary between complaint handlers with some adopting an explicit ethical and moral focus; and (3) the active role group support and dialogue plays in supporting individual complaint handler’s fair decision making. Several practical implications arise from this in relation to how organisations can support fair decision making.