Case | HBS Case Collection | November 2003 (Revised April 2004)

Internal Governance and Control at Goldman Sachs: Block Trading

by Malcolm S. Salter and Ratna Sarkar


Although the explicit problem presented in the case concerns pricing a block trade, the real issue involves the decision-making and oversight processes used to arrive at a price that is appropriate for both the client and Goldman Sachs. Asks students in assignment questions to map the decision and control processes used in this core activity and then to reflect on whether these processes are sustainable and scalable as Goldman Sachs grows from 5,000 employees to 20,000 employees within a 5-year period. Goldman Sachs' decision and control processes are based, at root, on trust, so the question becomes whether and how a culture based on trust is scalable.

Keywords: Price; Governance Controls; Trust; Organizational Culture; Decision Making; Financial Services Industry;


Salter, Malcolm S., and Ratna Sarkar. "Internal Governance and Control at Goldman Sachs: Block Trading." Harvard Business School Case 904-026, November 2003. (Revised April 2004.)