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Organizational Encounters with Risk
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  • Edited by Bridget Hutter, London School of Economics and Political Science, Michael Power, London School of Economics and Political Science
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Book description

Organizational encounters with risk range from errors and anomalies to outright disasters. In a world of increasing interdependence and technological sophistication, the problem of understanding and managing such risks has grown ever more complex. Organizations and their participants must often reform and reorganise themselves in response to major events and crises, dealing with the paradox of managing the potentially unmanageable. Organizational responses are influenced by many factors, such as the representational capacity of information systems and concerns with legal liability. In this collection, leading experts on risk management from a variety of disciplines address these complex features of organizational encounters with risk. They raise critical questions about how risk can be understood and conceived by organizations, and whether it can be 'managed' in any realistic sense at all. This book is an important reminder that the organisational management of risk involves much more than the cool application of statistical method.


'Organizational Encounters with Risk addresses the paradox of the 21st century: how organizations that enhance our capacity to govern uncertainty simultaneously produce new uncertainties that demand innovative approaches to risk and regulation. While grounding their analyses in real-world organizational encounters with risk, the distinguished contributors to this volume also significantly advance theories of uncertainty, risk and regulation.'

Richard Ericson - University of Toronto

‘These remarkably insightful essays freshen and deepen our grasp of the ways in which organizations manufacture risk. These perspectives represent a much needed corrective to stylized, narrowly drawn risk analysis. Risk is recast as an encounter shaped by the organizing of attention, sense-making, and structuring. This volume will have a profound resonance for scholars and practitioners alike and represents a milestone in efforts to understand an increasingly significant issue.’

'A crucial point about the risks that we face today is that technological disasters and major financial failures are often caused by systematic organisational factors rather than mere chance events. In this sense institutions themselves are the incubators of risk in the modern world. This collection of essays is a thoroughly valuable addition to our analytic understanding of this important phenomenon, and should be read by managers, risk and safety professionals and academics alike.'

Nick Pidgeon - School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

'An original collection of the latest thinking by some of the finest scholars of risk. The book documents in revealing ways the increasing importance of risk management in organizational life, as in the new phenomenon of multinational firms with a Chief Risk Officer. This collection throws out a challenge to existing paradigms of organizational theory with evocative risk paradigms.'

John Braithwaite - Regulatory Institutions Network, Australian National University

'Bridget Hutter and Michael Power have put together an all-star cast that both advances knowledge and sets an ambitious research agenda.'

James Short - Department of Sociology, Washington State University

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