An analysis of the maturity and strategic impact of investments in ERM

Submitted on 7th September 2017

Over the past decade, expectations for more effective oversight of risks by boards of directors have significantly increased. These expectations emanate from stock exchanges, regulators, credit rating agencies and other key stakeholders. Proponents of enhanced risk oversight argue that an increased understanding of enterprise-wide risks provides strategic benefit by helping the board and management identify and manage risks that may impact the achievement of strategic objectives while at the same time helping the board monitor the extent of risk-taking on the part of management in their desire to meet these objectives. In response to these growing expectations, some boards have asked management to explore implementation of a more holistic, top-down approach to risk oversight widely known as enterprise risk management (ERM) while others have not. Institutional theory would suggest that a number of organizations implement minimal elements of ERM for symbolic reasons, lacking substance in risk oversight. In contrast, agency theory would suggest that boards embrace explicit and robust risk oversight activities to monitor management’s risk-taking actions, and resource dependence theory would suggest that they also do so to help the organization achieve strategic objectives. Little is known about the way in which boards and management organize their processes and the impact of those processes on the level of ERM adoption. More importantly, little is known about the extent to which ERM is perceived to provide strategic benefit to those organizations that have invested in developing a robust ERM process. Based on data gathered from 645 survey responses from executives of organizations spanning a number of industries and sizes, we find that organizations with greater ERM maturity are significantly more likely to have taken steps to formally engage the board and senior management in specific risk oversight tasks (consistent with agency theory), and certain board and management risk practices are associated with perceptions that ERM provides strategic advantage (consistent with resource dependence theory).

Journal of Accounting and Public Policy
Length of Resource
25 pages
Mark Beasley, Bruce Branson, Don Pagach
Date Published
Publication Type
Resource Type