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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"Everyone here is committed to a level of excellence and going the extra mile in a way that I've never seen at any other organization."1

- Suzanne Nora Johnson, Managing Director, Global Investment Research, Goldman Sachs in 2005.

"At Goldman Sachs, culture is a key issue since the company is essentially a 'bunch of people' that does not produce a concrete product."2

- Steffen C. Landauer, Managing Director and COO, The Pine Street Development Group, Goldman Sachs in 2003.


In 2005, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) was one of the leading merchant banking and securities firms. It provided services to corporations, financial institutions, governments, and high-net worth individuals in three segments - Investment Banking, Trading and Principal Investments, and Asset Management and Securities Services (Refer Exhibit I for details).

The company, founded in 1869, was successful in all the businesses it operated. This success could be attributed to its culture, which proved to be a source of competitive advantage for the firm.

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

"Our firm's culture is the most sustainable competitive advantage that we have. I also believe that we have the best people, but the magic is the combination of outstanding people and a strong culture," said Bill Buckley, Former Managing Director and Former Co-Head, Private Client Services, GS.3

GS also attracted media headlines because of the money the company's top management made.

When GS made a US$ 2.6 billion pretax profit in 1993, UK-based newspaper, The Guardian, remarked, "What's the difference between Tanzania and Goldman Sachs? One is an African country that makes US$ 2.2 billion and shares it among 25 million people.

The other is an investment bank that makes US$ 2.6 billion and shares most of it between 161 people."4

Organization Culture at Goldman Sachs - Next Page>>


2] MDPNewYorkExecutiveSummary.pdf.

3] Endlich, Lisa, "Goldman Sachs: The Culture of Success," Touchstone, 2000.



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