How to reconsider risk management in SMEs? An Advanced, Reasoned and Organised Literature Review

Chiara Crovini, Giovanni Ossola, Bernd Britzelmaier

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper is two-fold: to reconsider the fundamental role of risk management (RM) in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by identifying and critically analysing the most important international works; and to define opportunities for further studies by suggesting a different approach to
study the topic. This research is based on a new hybrid method developed by the authors, called Advanced, Reasoned and Organised (ARO) literature review, which improves the quality of literature reviews by integrating the systematic review for quantitative papers, the meta-synthesis for qualitative research and the critical interpretative analysis. Forty-eight articles were included in the literature review.
Bibliometric and cluster analyses were carried out. Two hypotheses were applied as filters in the interpretative synthesis of the content and guided the analysis to answer two research questions. The findings underline that RM in SMEs is still a ‘spot’ subject as they put little effort into the risk identification, assessment and monitoring. The lack of procedures and strategies is due to the lack of risk
mindfulness and knowledge, and it is related to the managers’ and owners’ risk attitudes. It is fundamental to understand why risk procedures are not implemented and to find a way to raise awareness of the potential benefits of risk and control measures. The topic is current, and the multidisciplinary
perspective and mixed-method approach enhance both theoretical and practical contributions for academics and SME owners.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Management Journal
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)118-134
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • ARO
  • Decision making
  • Literature review
  • Risk approach
  • Risk management
  • SMEs


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  • Going Beyond Formalization: Effective Risk Management in a Medium Company

    Britzelmaier, B., Crovini, C. & Ossola, G., 2019, The Future of Risk Management: Perspectives on Financial and Corporate Strategies. De Vincentiis, P., Culasso, F. & Cerrato, S. (eds.). 1 ed. Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, Vol. II. p. 277-299

    Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

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