Title: Risk in practice – senior bank managers at work

Authors: Gunnar Wahlstrom

Addresses: Department of Business Administration, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, P.O. Box 7080, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: This article advances this critique of risk measurement by providing evidence on the risks senior bank managers perceive as the greatest threats to their organisations. The data is collected through semi-structured interviews with senior bank managers from all the listed banks in Sweden. The perceived risks relate to the interviewees| positions in the banks. Risks also emerge unexpectedly and are difficult to measure. This situation is due to the working conditions of senior bank managers who work in a challenging, unstable and unplanned context; when one problem is solved, attention is immediately channelled to the next. Under stable conditions, measured risks are regarded as manageable and controllable. However, based on the criticism of risk measurement explored in the literature, it is plausible that risk measurement information provides senior bank managers with a false sense of security. Thus, when the operational contexts are altered, such as during financial crises, risk measurement emerges as a problem requiring the attention of senior bank managers.

Keywords: risk measurement; bank managers; semi-structured interviews; senior management; Sweden; risk assessment; banking industry.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCA.2009.027320

International Journal of Critical Accounting, 2009 Vol.1 No.3, pp.287 - 305

Published online: 19 Jul 2009 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article