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Typology of risk management practices: an empirical investigation into German SMEs

Henschel, Thomas


Thomas Henschel


The business management literature has largely neglected the theme of risk management for Small- to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). So the aim of this research was to explore the current state of risk management in German SMEs. Derived from a comprehensive analysis of a questionnaire survey which was supported by research interviews, a multidimensional scoring approach to assess a firm’s risk management sophistication has been developed. The present approach does not evaluate one single scoring figure, as is usual. Instead, it allows a differentiated assessment by evaluating separate scoring figures for each aspect that a holistic risk management system should cover. Based on the scoring approach, this paper introduces a new typology of risk management practices. Making the Miles and Snow organisational typology applicable to assess risk management practices, three types – reactor,defender/prospector and analyser – reflecting the levels of sophistication,are extracted. 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 on which actions a firm of the respective type should take to improve its risk management.


Henschel, T. (2010). Typology of risk management practices: an empirical investigation into German SMEs. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 9, 264-294.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2010-03
Deposit Date Mar 11, 2010
Print ISSN 1476-1297
Publisher Inderscience
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Pages 264-294
Keywords holistic risk management; project risk management; businessplanning; performance measurement; small- to medium-sized enterprises;SMEs; scoring; typology
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