The central question of this research is if, and how, risk management contributes to the success of IS/IT projects. Risk management is used regularly in IT projects, despite indications in literature that risk management only occasionally contributes to IT project success. Drawing on Habermas we distinguish between instrumental and communicative effects of risk management. Stakeholders from seven ERP implementation projects indicate that in addition to the instrumental effects of risk management, being direct risk mitigating actions by stakeholders, individual risk management activities are able to generate communicative effects. Communicative effects create a commonly shared definition of the situation by influencing stakeholders' perceptions and expectations and by defining the inter-stakeholder project relations. These effects contribute to the effectiveness of instrumental action, and consequently to project success. Stakeholders consider risk identification to be the most influential risk management activity, both in number and in strength of the effects. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. APM and IPMA. All rights reserved.