Risk culture in support functions at a government department
Makhathini, Zamokuhle Wendy
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Risk culture perceptions are an important measure of an organisation’s risk management processes. Yet, in many organisations, the perceived risk culture often remains undetermined. The present work assesses the risk culture perceptions of employees in the support functions of a South African national public entity. No published academic articles on risk culture in support functions were found and this study seems to be the first to focus on risk culture in this unexplored area. Data were collected by using the Risk Culture Survey (UARM RCS-2019), which was completed online by employees (n = 445) working in seven support functions. The responses were analysed using scales that are based on the results of factor analyses to determine the perceived level of risk integration and perceived comfort with the employees’ own risk management role. The results indicated a medium risk culture maturity perception. In addition, tests of significance were performed and no significant differences were found between the seven support functions, except for the Finance function, which reported a risk culture perception score higher than the others. No significant differences in risk culture perceptions between managers and non-managers were found. The study reported here provides elementary but valuable insights and lays a foundation for an organisation-wide study. Perceived comfort with the employees’ own risk management role was found to be similar and risk management appears to be integrated in decision-making processes. A third of respondents selected accountability as the major opportunity for improvement, and a third had never received formal risk training; both aspects highlight opportunities for improvement. Recommendations are offered to improve the current risk culture.