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SPECIFIC CHALLENGES AND OBSTACLES OBSERVED IN RISK MANAGEMENT

In this section, we describe key issues within the risk management domain that we identified during our study, obtained during interviews with managers, and gathered on specific topics (for example, risk appetite) from various risk management experts.

Terminology

Authors of both scientific and business literature seem to exhibit little discipline for using the same terminology about risk consistently. Terms such as information, noise, uncertainty, risk, ambiguity, threat, hazard, opportunity, vulnerability, exposure, consequence, and strengths are examples of where we observe a lack of precision in definitions. What we observe (not only in Poland) is mixing the meaning of threat with risk, showing risk as the opposite of opportunity, instead of threat and opportunity. This issue directly influences practitioners' perceptions and approaches to ERM. Another example is the hypothesis of informational efficiency of a capital market, which has a lot to do with investors' risk management and their evaluation of companies. The efficient market hypothesis (EMH) does not have a precise definition of what information is (see Pijanowski 2005-2006), and that is why the hypothesis is called unsolvable, but when we define parameters of information and uncertainty, it can be solved in a convincing way.

Moreover, we have observed that the current inconsistencies and ambiguity regarding the term risk appetite cause directors not to buy into the ERM concept because it cannot be properly explained or justified by its followers.

Principles

If we look at the implementation of ERM in Poland, we see that risk is not part of key managerial decisions, despite a risk management policy being formally agreed upon. The only decision regarded as relating to risk is to comply with the law (i.e., "We have to do it, so we must do it"). We know several cases where one consulting company corrected the other consulting company's frameworks. Our conclusion is that ERM is often sold in isolation from strategy and value-based management.

 
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