The Importance of Being in the Right Unit

In Salomon Brothers in the 1980s, being in equities put you at a disadvantage compared to being in bonds:

With the rise of the bond markets, the equity salesmen and traders had been reduced by comparison to small-time toll takers. They made a bit of money and had a few laughs, but not nearly so many as the bond men. . . . An investor could buy shares in IBM from Salomon, but he could equally well buy them from forty other stockbrokers. . . . Salomon was nearly a monopolist in certain bond markets.1

This example illustrates the fundamental point that one source of an individual’s power is the subunit or organization of which he or she is a member. Not all individuals are equally influential in organizations, ...

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