Journal of Operational Risk

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The impact of culture upon operational risk management guidelines in the banking sector of selected Asian countries

Mihaela Mocanu

  • ORM in the banking system is characterized by "enforced self-regulation".
  • The higher the masculinity dimension of the country where the issuing central bank is located, the less clear and the less prescriptive the text.
  • Each operational risk-related item is weighted differently in the guidelines of different countries.

For banks, operational risk losses are likely to have a significant impact not only on their financial condition, but also on their reputation. This makes operational risk management (ORM) particularly important. In relation to ORM, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision promotes a banking supervision policy based on the idea of “enforced self-regulation”. Thus, the central banks of different countries regulate ORM according to the specificities of their national banking industry. This paper tests the hypothesis that such regulatory openness results in legal texts that are highly influenced by the culture of the country in which each central bank issuing guidelines on ORM is located. The author analyzes a corpus of approximately 50 000 words that feature in ORM guidelines published in English by the central banks of China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. By applying the Kendall coefficient, the following significant correlations have been found: (a) the higher the masculinity dimension, the less clear the text; and (b) the higher the masculinity dimension, the less prescriptive the text. Moreover, our content analysis reveals that each operational risk-related item has a different weight in the guidelines of different countries. The research results should be useful to regulators looking to fine-tune their decisions in different cultural environments.

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