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Embedding compliance culture in the UK financial service sector’s corporate governance model (REF: SF18/AFM/BURDON1)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

“for firms wanting to change their culture a valuable approach may be to recognise that culture is a product of a wide range of contributory factors and then decompose it into its main drivers so that the role of each can be considered and developed” FCA, 2016

Following the financial crisis of 2007-8 there was a major transformation in the regulation of financial services in the UK as part of an overhaul of their corporate governance model to embed a compliance culture within the sector (FCA 2016a). Burdon and Harvey (2016) call for more ethical approaches to compliance within the sector, to avoid issues of ‘consulting’ group think within organisations. Inherent in these argument, is the desire to ‘visibly’ improve culture across the financial service sector in order to regain public trust. However, given the ongoing governance scandals within UK banking, and the continued focus on compliance culture by the regulators, questions remain whether practitioners are embedding culture within the sector, and if so how this is achieved?

The concept of organisational culture has been widely explored by academics. However, the area of compliance, specifically in financial services is under researched due to access restrictions. Therefore, this research will add to the limited academic literature available in this area. Practitioners’ perceptions of culture will be explored to consider whether the current regulatory approach to compliance culture is meeting the wider publics’ expectations of conduct in the UK financial service sector.

Using appropriate theoretical underpinning, the research will explore best practice implementation of compliance culture in the UK financial service sector. The barriers to embedding ‘compliance culture’ within financial services will be interrogated from both the perspective of the regulators and the compliance officers working within the financial service sector. Applications should discuss through a research proposal how this theme would be researched, and highlight how access to research participants is expected to be managed.

Burdon, W. M., & Harvey, J. (2016). A plea for adoption of ethical compliance: Avoiding pitfalls of compliance groupthink and consulting. Journal of Financial Crime, 23(1), 187-200.
FCA (2016). Culture in UK banking. Downloaded 16/11/2017
FCA (2016a). Behaviours and compliance in organisations. Occasional Paper 24. Downloaded 16/11/2017

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF18/…) will not be considered.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.

Funding Notes

Please note this is a self-funded project and does not include fees.


Abdou, H., Agbeyo, O., Jones, K. & Sorour, K. (2016). The Impact of M&A on the Nigerian Financial Market: A Pre-Post Analysis, Investment Management and Financial Innovation, 13 (1), pp.138-150. ( With Abdou, H., Agbeyo, O., Jones)
Burdon, W. M., & Harvey, J. (2016). A plea for adoption of ethical compliance: Avoiding pitfalls of compliance groupthink and consulting. Journal of Financial Crime, 23(1), 187-200.
Burdon, W. M. (2016). Models for Compliance in the Financial Service Industry: Theory versus Practice – Is a best practice model feasible in an environment of regulatory flux?. PhD Completed 2016.
Howell, K., Sorour,M.K. (2016) Corporate Governance in Africa: Assessing Implementation and Ethical Perspectives. Palgrave MacMillan.
Nakpodia,F., Shrives,P. & Sorour,K. (2017).Examining the link between religion and corporate governance: Insights from Nigeria. Business & Society (forthcoming)
Sorour,M,K. Sakhaway,A., (2016). On The Evolution of Corporate Governance Culture in Africa: The Case of the Egyptian Banking Sector. In Howell &Sorour (Eds.), Corporate Governance In Africa: Assessing implementation and Ethical Perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan
Sorour, M.K. (2014). Corporate Governance Reform in Egypt: Achievements and Challenges Ahead. In K. Çalıyurt&Idowu (Eds.), Corporate Governance: An International Perspective: Springer ISBN 978-3-642-45167-6
Sorour, K. M., Howell, K. (2013). A Grounded Theory Analysis of Corporate Governance in Egyptian Banking. Qualitative Research Journal, V13, Issue (3) DOI:10.1108/QRJ-03-2013-0017

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