Operational Research

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 679–700 | Cite as

Analyzing the dynamics behind ethical banking practices using fuzzy cognitive mapping

  • Ana Rita S. C. Azevedo
  • Fernando A. F. FerreiraEmail author
Original Paper


Because the perceived ethics of a banking institution can affect its reputation, concern over ethical practices in the banking sector is rapidly increasing. The alignment of such practices with daily operations, however, requires dealing with a wide range of variables, tangible or intangible, and constitutes a notoriously difficult endeavor. Still, due to the rapidly changing economic environment and current sharp competition in the banking industry, a better understanding of this alignment can help bank managers and other key players enhance value creation through more informed decisions, contributing to stronger integration of ethical practices in the banks’ daily activities. This paper proposes the use of fuzzy cognitive maps (FCMs) to analyze the dynamics behind ethical banking practices. Grounded on intensive group meetings with a panel of senior executives from the banking industry, the result is a well-informed process-oriented framework that sheds light on the manner in which ethical practices interrelate with each other. Implications, advantages and shortcomings of our proposal are also discussed.


Ethical practices Banking sector Cause-and-effect dynamics Fuzzy cognitive mapping 

Mathematics Subject Classification

90B50 90B90 90C30 



Records of the expert panel meetings, including pictures, software outputs and non-confidential information of the study, can be obtained from the corresponding author upon request. The authors gratefully acknowledge the superb contribution and knowledge sharing of the panel members: Francisco Silva, Jorge Almeida, Jorge Bravo, José Urceira, Manuel Lacasta, Marco Rodrigues, Marisa Henriques, Miguel Baptista and Sónia Leandro. Facility support from the ISCTE Business School, University Institute of Lisbon, Portugal, is also acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Rita S. C. Azevedo
    • 1
  • Fernando A. F. Ferreira
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.ISCTE Business School, BRU-IULUniversity Institute of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Fogelman College of Business and EconomicsUniversity of MemphisMemphisUSA

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