Organization Culture at Goldman Sachs

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Case Details:

Case Code : HROB070
Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 1999-05
Pub Date : 2005
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Goldman Sachs
Industry : Investment Banking
Countries : USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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About the Company

In 1869, Marcus Goldman (Goldman) started his entrepreneurial venture as a commercial paper dealer in New York. Goldman bought promissory notes from jewelers and resold them to commercial banks. In 1882, Samuel Sachs (Sachs), who married Goldman's daughter, joined Goldman in his business. In 1885, the venture was named Goldman, Sachs & Company.

In the 1900s, the company played a lead role in establishing the Initial Public Offering (IPO) market in the US. In 1906, GS lead managed Sears, Roebuck & Company's IPO.

Human Resource and Organization Behavior | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Human Resource and Organization Behavior, Case Studies

GS was one of the first investment banks to recruit MBAs. It recruited Harvard Business School MBAs in 1922. The firm also took the lead in banking reforms and corporate governance issues in the 1930s. By the 1950s, GS had become a leader in the equities markets through its innovations in block trading5 and risk arbitrage6.

In the 1960s, GS set up a Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) group, the first dedicated M&A group on Wall Street. In 1977, GS created a single computerized information network that provided instant access to all GS offices.

In 1984, the firm became the only investment bank to be ranked in the top 10 in the first publication of 'The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America'7. In 1986, GS was the US advisor and lead manager for UK's sell-off of British Gas8. Subsequently, GS took the lead role as an advisor in the sell-off of state-owned companies around the globe.

By the late 1980s, GS was ranked among the top ten financial institutions involved in the mergers and acquisitions business in the UK. In 1999, GS went public. It raised US$ 3.66 billion through the sale of 69 million shares. The company's shares were also allotted to the 221 partners and the 13,000 employees in the company...

 Excerpts >>

5] A block trade is a privately negotiated futures transaction executed apart from the public auction market. There are minimum order size requirements that vary according to product and order type, and eligibility for engaging in such trades is strictly regulated.

6] Arbitrage is the attempt to profit by exploiting price differences of identical or similar financial instruments, in different markets or in different forms. Risk arbitrage, as the term denotes, is a high risk arbitrage process.

7] Great Places to Work Institute comes out with a list of "100 Best Companies to Work for in America" every year. It is published in Fortune. In the 2005 list, Goldman Sachs was ranked 35th.

8] The Thatcher government in UK went ahead with privatization of state-owned firms. The sale of British Gas brought in 5.6 billion pounds.


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