Risk Management in Small and Medium-sized German Leasing Companies

  • Christian Helmut Glaser

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Risk management can still be seen as a nascent discipline of business management with rather few research projects when comparing it to other established disciplines like marketing or leadership. Enterprise-wide risk management approaches in general and in the leasing industry in particular are largely neglected by management literature and research. Until today, no general standard for an enterprise-wide approach to risk management has developed yet which can also be seen in the different forms and understandings of risk management. Nevertheless, there are some major contributions in the field by academics as well as practitioners and/or led by think tanks that evolved over the years. By the end of 2017, for example, a further step in developing a more common understanding of enterprise-wide risk management was made when the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission updated its enterprise risk management framework by the core elements of strategic planning and performance. The purpose of this research is to fill this gap and determine how small and medium-sized German leasing firms might develop more effective risk management.
Due to the nascent field of knowledge, a qualitative approach with the focus on a profound understanding of the risk management process and methods was conducted. The methods utilised generated data via semi-structured in-depth interviews with risk managers and owner-managers in order to gain insights into how risk management is undertaken in practice. Data was then analysed using grounded theory analysis.
This study introduced a new framework that gives indications in combination with a typology of risk management practice as well as a life cycle model to the respective small and medium-sized firms which methods might be applied to improve effectiveness of risk management. Based on 35 interviews with small and medium-sized as well as five interviews with large German leasing companies, the research is very robust and the sample size covers more than 25% of the members of the federal association of German leasing firms (which is representing more than 90% of the German leasing market).
The main research limitations are closely connected to the chosen research design and methodology. On the one hand, subjective influence cannot be fully eliminated although a strong focus on objectivity and audit trails et cetera was put. Moreover, due to the nascent field of research, additional research might be necessary to further validate the research findings in general and the proposed framework in particular. Other limitations are mainly occurring due to the focus on Germany, as well as the small and medium-sized leasing firms. These shortcomings are intended to motivate future research on the topic.
The present research does not only address an existing gap in the academic discussion but does also contribute to practical knowledge with the focus on small and medium-sized German leasing firms. The major contribution of this research and a large part of its originality forms a framework to implement an enterprise-wide approach to risk management accessible for small and medium-sized leasing companies. Furthermore, this study takes a pioneering role in understanding the risk management practices and needs of small and medium-sized leasing companies and intends to pave the way for future risk management studies in the leasing context.
Date of Award22 Jun 2018
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorArief Daynes (Supervisor)

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