Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




It is often argued that the market, with its "invisible hand," displays an inherent bent towards maximizing utility and delivering the "greatest good to the greatest number." Faith in the market to act as benevolent overlord is not only misguided but, as revealed during the Great Recession, a fantasy. Analyzing emails made public following the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, this paper considers the organizational culture within Lehman Brothers leading up to history's largest bankruptcy in order to emphasize the role of interaction within an outcome otherwise uncritically categorized as the unavoidable product of market fluctuations. Demonstrating how Lehman employees adopted the institutional myth of market efficiency and inhabited it with a distinct organizational arrogance, this paper challenges readers to reimagine the Lehman Bankruptcy not as an inevitable collapse ordained by "market efficiency," but as the result of individuals collectively enacting organizational modifications of a well known and widely accepted institutional myth.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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