Issues with enterprise risk management buy-in: a South African government case study
Pillay, Vaneshree Mogeshree
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The South African national government implemented enterprise risk management (ERM) to facilitate a strong public sector, able to contribute to economic development and social upliftment across South Africa. ERM principles can improve organisational performance by maximising opportunities to achieve strategic objectives, and minimising the risks in achieving them. This article reports on an exploratory study to identify issues impeding ERM buy-in in a South African government organisation, using a three-phase, mixed method research design. In Phase 1, brief structured interviews were used to identify relevant issues. In Phase 2, management ranked the top seven issues identified. In Phase 3, selected participants proposed improvements for ERM buy-in. A total of 15 participants (five executive, five senior and five middle managers), took part in Phases 1 and 3. All 67 members of the organisation’s management team took part in Phase 2. The main conclusion of this study was that buy-in for ERM needed improvement in the organisation studied. The top three issues impacting buy-in were: poor high level corporate sponsorship for ERM; ERM not integrated into strategic planning and business processes; and inadequate capacity to manage identified risks. Recommendations to improve the level of buy-in are presented as part of this study.