Essays on Organizational Risk and Risk Governance Innovations: Evaluating the Current State and Mapping Some Future Directions
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AbstractAll organizations are subject to uncertainty and risk, the nature and extent of which ultimately affect their performance and may even threaten their survival. The frequency and severity of risk events and perceived failures of risk management and risk oversight in organizational contexts have shaken confidence in prevailing practices and stimulated reforms. As a result, many top management teams (TMTs) and boards of directors (boards) are increasingly adopting and adapting new risk governance practices. These practices comprise ideas such as enterprise risk management (ERM); structures such as risk committees, risk functions, and chief risk officers (CROs); processes such as risk aggregation and risk integration; and techniques such as risk appetite. Although some patterns of adoption, adaptation, and diffusion have emerged, our understanding of the underlying mechanisms is limited and underexplored. Despite decades of scholarly inquiry into risk behaviour in organizational contexts, the dominant theoretical perspectives remain undercontextualized and the empirical findings remain equivocal. In this multi-paper thesis, I explore the current state of knowledge regarding organizational risk and risk governance innovations and propose directions for future research. In the first paper, I build process theory from multiple cases to address why and how social actors in organizational contexts construct risk governance. In the second paper, I evaluate aggregated empirical results through a meta-analytic procedure to address why social actors in organizational contexts engage in risk behaviour. In the third paper, I elaborate process theory from multiple cases to address how social actors in organizational contexts could construct risk preference. Findings from this research reconfirm the need for scholars to extend their theoretical and empirical inquiry into organizational risk and risk governance innovations beyond the dominant technico-scientific and modernist perspectives and embrace the emergent socio-cultural and postmodernist perspectives.
Haskayne School of Business