City Research Online

Reconciling Risk as Threat and Opportunity: The Social Construction of Risk in Boardrooms

Bryce, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-9856-7851, Ashby, S. & Ring, P. (2024). Reconciling Risk as Threat and Opportunity: The Social Construction of Risk in Boardrooms. Risk Analysis, doi: 10.1111/risa.14275


Board directing is a continuous process of risk analysis and control in response to the duality of risk as threat and opportunity. Judgements are made and re-made to simultaneously reduce the potential for damaging threats (e.g., fraud, reputation damage), whilst exploiting opportunities (e.g., new product development, mergers and acquisitions). Adopting an institutional logics approach, we explore this process of risk analysis and control through the varied subject identities (e.g., directorial roles), risk management practices (the procedures and tools used to identify, assess and control risk), and risk objects (the product of risk identification, assessment and control, e.g. a risk matrix or register) of boards. We argue that the contingent interaction between these identities, practices and objects inform the ‘risk logic’ of a board, which may draw attention to the notion of risk as threat, risk as opportunity or both threat and opportunity. Using the testimony of 30 executive and nonexecutive directors that represent 62 companies from a range of public, private and third sector organizations, we contribute to the literature on the micro-foundations of risk analysis in organizations by shining a light on how board directors understand, assess, control and ultimately govern risk in organizations.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2024 The Authors. Risk Analysis published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for Risk Analysis. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Publisher Keywords: Duality of Risk, Risk Management, Board Directing, Governance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: Bayes Business School > Actuarial Science & Insurance
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Risk Analysis - 2024 - Bryce - Reconciling risk as threat and opportunity The social construction of risk in boardrooms.pdf]
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (308kB) | Preview
[thumbnail of Risk AnalysisRR_v1.5_FINAL.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible due to copyright restrictions.


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login