Risk governance, structures, culture, and behavior: A view from the inside

Elizabeth Sheedy*, Barbara Griffin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Research Questions/Issues: Risk governance (emphasizing internal structures and risk culture) is a relatively new approach to the governance of financial institutions that is being widely adopted in the industry. Due to obvious assessment challenges, to date no evidence exists regarding the effectiveness of risk structures nor the status of risk culture in financial institutions. We therefore investigate the extent to which bank employees view risk structures as effective and risk culture as favorable. We also investigate how risk structures and risk culture together influence risk behavior.

Research Findings/Insights: Risk structures were typically rated as effective with the exception of remuneration. Risk culture varied at the business unit level as well as by firm and country. Senior leaders tended to have a rosier perception of risk culture than staff generally. Favorable risk culture together with effective risk structures was associated with high levels of desirable and low levels of undesirable risk behavior.

Theoretical/Academic Implications: The study provides a window into internal bank governance using a novel survey methodology. Many governance papers rely exclusively on external measures of governance; these do not guarantee effective internal risk governance.

Practitioner/Policy Implications: Further managerial and supervisory attention should be paid to ensure that culture and remuneration structures support risk management in financial institutions. As risk culture varies at the local level, it should be measured and managed at the local level. Senior leaders cannot rely on their own perceptions but should rely instead on independent assessments of risk culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-22
Number of pages19
JournalCorporate Governance (Oxford)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • Corporate Governance
  • Split‐share Structure
  • Non‐tradable Shares
  • Stock Price Crash Risk
  • Principal‐Principal Agency Problems


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