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Conceptualisation in Preparation for Risk Discourse: A Qualitative Step toward Risk Governance

By Michael Alan Lauder


The purpose of this research was, in order to forestall future failures of foresight, to provoke those responsible for risk governance into new ways of thinking through a greater exposure to and understanding of the body of existing academic knowledge. The research, which focused on the scholarship of application, synthesised the existing knowledge into a ―coherent whole‖ in order to assess its practical utility and to examine what is to be learnt about existing knowledge by trying to use it in practice. The findings are in two parts. The first focuses on how one ―thinks about thinking‖ about an issue. Early work identified three issues that were seen as being central to the understanding of risk governance. The first is the concept of risk itself, the second is to question whether there is a single paradigm used and the third is what is meant by the term ―risk indicator‖. A ―coherent whole‖, structured around seven-dimensions, was created from the range of definitions used within existing literature. No single paradigm was found to be used when discussing risk issues. Three paradigms were identified and labelled ―Line‖, ―Circle‖ and ―Dot‖. It was concluded that Risk Indicators were used to performance manage risk mitigation barriers rather than as a mechanism by which organisations may identify emerging risks. The second focus was the synthesis of academic work relevant to risk governance. It produced a list of statements which encapsulated the concerns of previous writers on this subject. The research then operationalised the issues as questions, which were seen to have practical utility. The elements of the ―coherent whole‖ suggest a way to provide access into the original research. The research suggests that it is unlikely that practitioners would wish to access the original research in its academic format. Further work therefore needs to be done to present the original work in a format that is more digestible to the practitioner community if it is to be used effectively. The results of this research are considered to be preliminary. No claim is being made that these questions are definitive. The research is however addressing an area which is of concern to those in practice and has not been previously examined

Topics: Failure of Foresight, Coherent Whole, Cross-understanding, Practical Utility
Publisher: Cranfield University
Year: 2011
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

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