Research Output

Risk management practices in the main industries of German small to medium-sized enterprises.

  The business management literature has largely neglected the theme of risk
management for SMEs. So the aim of this research was to explore the current state
of risk management in German SMEs and to reveal the problems which firms have
with implementing a risk management system.
Risk management is a relatively new discipline. Thus until now no general
standard has been developed what to understand by a holistic risk management.
Based on an extensive literature analysis, this study - besides risk management in
the stricter sense - also sees the following components as essential for a holistic
risk management: business planning and modern instruments of performance
measurement. The present investigation places a special focus on these
Because of lacking empirical data a nationwide postal questionnaire has been
chosen to obtain a broad picture of current risk management practices in German
SMEs. A validation and further deepening of the results has been carried out by a
larger number of research interviews.
Derived from a comprehensive analysis of the questionnaire and the interview
results, a scoring approacht o assessth e risk managements ophisticationo f SMEs
has been developed. The approach does not, as usual, evaluate one single scoring
figure. Insteadi t allows a differentiated assessmenbt y evaluating separates coring
figures for each component of a holistic risk management system. The scoring
approach presented is very transparent and thus can easily be adapted for similar
research problems of risk management.
Based on the scoring approach, this study introduces a new typology of risk
management practices, derived from the empirical findings. It extracts three types
of firms' risk management practices: reactors, defender/prospectors and analysers.
The typology draws on the well-established approach of Miles and Snow who
developed their types for classifying business organizations. The present study
develops the Miles and Snow typology and makes it applicable for the purpose of
risk management practices.
Each of the three risk management types is described by its determinants with
respect to the components of a holistic risk management. Then recommendations
are formulated which actions a firm of the respective type should take to improve
its risk managementt,h us contributing to the firm's further positive development

  • Type:


  • Date:

    30 April 2007

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    HD61 Risk Management

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    658 General management


Henschel, T. Risk management practices in the main industries of German small to medium-sized enterprises. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from


Risk management; SME; Germany; business planning; performance measurement;

Available Documents