The architecture of risk management

  • Ericson R
  • Leslie M
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Abstract

Power's book examines how organizations are designed through risk-based science, law and managerial techniques. As organizations have come to think of, reform and govern themselves through the vague but powerful notion of risk, both the fortunes of the managers who conceive of these designs and the behaviour of the organizations themselves have been affected. Power develops four themes as he analyses the consequences of these moves towards risk management as governance. First, he notes the tensions that have emerged as risk management systems take in information about uncertainty in the operational environment and process it into risk, while simultaneously producing yet more uncertainty. Second, he offers an account of developments in the system of professions as the abstractions of mathematical risk analysts have lost ground to managerial approaches to the processing and uses of risk. Third, he applies neo-liberal notions of the individual to organizational behaviour in an analysis of the conflict between risk-embracing profit motives and risk-averse precautionary instincts. Fourth, he argues that the uptake of risk management techniques and discourses in organizations has fundamentally changed the way they view themselves and operate in the world. As better risk management through internal self-control has become the obvious solution to every problem, enterprise values and trust have imploded. We close our review with a critique of this implosion thesis, suggesting directions for future research for socio-legal, governance and organizational behaviour scholars. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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Authors

  • Richard Ericson

  • Myles Leslie

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