CARR research is shaped and organised by three broad themes:
Organisation and System Crisis
This research theme explores how organisations (and the organisation of multiple organisations) anticipate and respond to system crisis. It explores what assumptions regarding the motivation and the capacity of organisations underpin system-related regulatory regimes that are supposed to ensure system functioning. Furthermore, this research theme is interested in the ways in which instruments and institutional arrangements respond to system crisis and apparent failure.
Innovation and Sustainability
This research theme is interested in the risk regulation of new technologies as well as the development of new technologies of risk regulation. These issues arise in particular in relation to themes of sustainability, defined here as making decisions for the ‘long term’ by seeking to require a minimum of resources Innovation and sustainability are therefore both about the outcome as well as the character of the regulatory instruments themselves. This research theme is interested in the core area of sustainability, namely the environment, but also how these ideas travel to other domains, such as finance.
Reputation and Legitimacy
One of the key emerging themes in the contemporary literature has been reputation, in particular the way in which organisations seek to maintain and enhance their reputation through particular responses to challenges from their environment. Reputation (and the related interested in blame) is thus inherently linked to issues of legitimacy and various means through which organisations are held to account. This research theme will look at reputation and legitimacy at the organisational level, but will move the focus on reputation to the inter-organisational level, namely how systems or ‘fields’ seek to maintain their reputation.
Cross-cutting these three themes is a shared interest in comparative work that explores regulatory regimes on the basis of their multi-level problem-solving capacity that continues the existing CARR interest in systems of measurement, standardisation and valuation. Further, these themes built on the existing interest in both operational and institutional design dimensions. These three themes are overlapping and this overlap gives rise to a set of related research concerns in their own right.