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Organized Uncertainty: designing a world of risk management

Michael Power|
Oxford University Press (May 2007)

Since the mid-1990s risk management has undergone a dramatic expansion in its reach and significance, being transformed from an aspect of management control to become a benchmark of good governance for banks, hospitals, schools, charities and many other organizations. Numerous standards for risk management practice have been produced by a variety of transnational organizations. While these many designs and blueprints are accompanied by ideals of enterprise, value production, and good governance, it is argued that the rise of risk management has also coincided with an intensification of auditing and control processes. The legalization and bureaucratisation of organisational life has increased because risk management has created new demands for proof and evidence of action. In turn, these demands have generated new risks to reputation.

In short, this important book traces the rise of the managerial concept of risk and the different logics and values which underpin it, showing that it has much less to do with real dangers and opportunities than might be thought, and more to do with organizational accountability and legitimacy.

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