The yin and yang of introducing a sales culture: the Amalgam Bank Case

Bruce Fortado, Paul A. Fadil
  • Competitiveness Review An International Business Journal incorporating Journal of Global Competitiveness, October 2014, Emerald
  • DOI: 10.1108/cr-10-2013-0079

What is it about?

One of the ten largest U.S. banks introduced a sales culture on top of the previous service culture. It was thought the two could harmoniously coexist. Sales did increase as planned. Interviews with tellers and customer service representatives at two branches, however, revealed a number of unexpected negative results. The pressure to sell upset both employees and customers. When concerns were raised by employees, silencing behaviors were employed. Increased turnover and various forms of employee resistance were documented.

Why is it important?

In order for a organization culture to be stable and productive, a balance in the parties interests needs to be achieved. In this case, the managers were thinking more about their interests in increased sales than they were about the reactions of their employees and customers. A number of recommendations are put forward to achieve a better balance in the parties interests in the future.


Professor Fortado Bruce
University of North Florida

In 2016, the media began covering the problems involved in the Wells Fargo sales culture. The pressure to sell cascaded down the management hierarchy. The sales goals proved to be unrealistic. Employees began to juice their numbers by opening accounts in the names of family members and even strangers. Two million improper accounts were found. Initially, the managers blamed the employees and 5,300 were fired. Only after pressure emerged from regulatory bodies, prosecutors and elected politicians did the leaders of Wells Fargo back off their original course. The above field study of Amalgam Bank shows the type of pressure to sell that was similarly exerted on employees and how they subsequently juiced their numbers. This was documented years before the Wells Fargo scandal hit the news. If the managers in both banks would learn to listen to their employees concerns and make adjustments, or even better consult them before policies are implemented, a better balance in the parties interests would result.

Read Publication

The following have contributed to this page: Professor Fortado Bruce