Usefulness of enterprise risk management in two banks

Roy Liff (University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Gunnar Wahlstrom (University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management

ISSN: 1176-6093

Publication date: 16 April 2018



The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the management control system, the bank’s control package, influences opinion about the usefulness of risk measurement (RM) in different control contexts before and after a financial crisis, to understand what influences the usefulness of enterprise risk management (ERM) manifested in RM.


The study is based on semi-structured interviews in 2000-2010, with senior bank managers of two international banks (Bank A and Bank B) – both ranking among the top 100 in the world but differing structurally and culturally.


The two banks took opposite trajectories. Bank A went from high to low expectations of usefulness; Bank B went from low to high expectations. The different attitudes toward RM exhibited by Bank A and Bank B are explained by differences in their control packages, manifested by technocratic control and socio-ideology.


This study reveals that there are not merely different degrees of RM usage in the two banks but that they also show two diverting trajectories. Given this finding, the significance of the organization structure and its control packages (especially the alignment between these two factors) is analyzed to find a plausible explanation for the different experiences of senior managers toward the usefulness of RM. This study contributes to ERM research and to the contingency theory of management accounting.



Liff, R. and Wahlstrom, G. (2018), "Usefulness of enterprise risk management in two banks", Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 124-150.

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