Risk as threat and opportunity: The institutional logics of board risk management
Publication typeConference Proceeding
BookAcademy of Management Proceeding
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractOrganisations make strategic decisions in a world of uncertainty, and their success or failure depends on their ability to organize this uncertainty and exploit or mitigate the associated risks. At the apex of this risk-strategy nexus is the board of directors. We use the institutional logics perspective to investigate how board directors make sense of and act on their authority and accountability for risk management in an environment of conflicting social identities and goals that are bounded by limited resources and cognition. Through the analysis of 30 semi-structured interviews with executive and non-executive directors we find that boards are struggling to reconcile competing supra-organisational logics of ´risk as opportunity´ and ´risk as threat´. Many boards adopt a ‘governance and compliance’ logic for risk management, emphasizing threat reduction/value protection over the exploitation of opportunities/value creation. A very few opt for a ‘strategic-swashbuckling’ logic that gives primacy to value creation via opportunity exploitation. We also find evidence of a nascent ‘appetite aware’ logic, rooted in the object of the risk appetite statement and spread by directors acting as cultural entrepreneurs. Discovery of the appetite aware logic adds to the evidence on logic modularisation and the ability of cultural entrepreneurs to act as change agents by transferring elements of institutional orders from one situation to another. We find that the introduction of a risk appetite statement can influence board risk narratives and management practices."
Knowledge Domain/IndustryAccounting & Finance