People are at the core of scientific efforts to understand and mitigate risk. Regardless of whether the history of risk analysis is traced to ancient (Bernstein 1996, Covello and Mumpower 1985) or modern times (Renn 1998), the main interest of risk studies essentially lies in understanding the nature of the vulnerability (to loss or harm) of something that people value (Aven and Renn 2009, Renn 1998). The treatment or mitigation of risk mainly focuses on conceiving of ways to protect and preserve that which is valued. It is certainly interesting to note that even as the field of risk analysis has not quite yet achieved consensus on a generally-accepted definition of risk (Aven and Zio 2014), the preservation of what people value has remained a consistent common thread of concern that runs through scholarly investigations into the risk analysis and risk management process.
- diseases and natural disasters can directly lead to loss of human life (see for example Dolin, Raviglione, and Kochi 1994, Ko, Thompson, and Nardell 2004); while animal disease epidemics can lead to the transmission of these diseases to humans, and eventually lead to loss of human life (see for example Shinya et al. 2006);
- workplace and occupational design can directly expose individual employees to physical, mental or emotional harm (see for example Berninger et al. 2010, Clark and Bohl 2005); while large-scale financial crises can lead to the collapse of business organisations, which in turn leads to the loss of individual jobs and of shareholder value (see for example Almunia et al. 2010); and
- adverse changes in climate can directly result in decreased access to safe drinking water for people living in remote communities (see for example Vörösmarty et al. 2000); while species extinction can lead to some ecological imbalance and issues in biodiversity, which may in turn make a negative impact on human food security (see for example Pauly, Watson, and Alder 2005).
However, people do not just potentially suffer the consequences of unmitigated risk. People’s perceptions, actions, and risk or crisis management decisions likewise contribute to increasing, decreasing, or even creating new and unforeseen risks. People themselves are a source of uncertainty in the way that they consciously or unconsciously think and behave with regard to risk. For example:
- different people may perceive the same risk differently, thus resulting in divergent opinions on actions required to mitigate the risk (see for example Weber and Hsee 1998, Wildavsky and Dake 1990, Slovic and Weber 2002, Sjöberg 2000);
- people may think about risk very differently and approach the task of risk analysis in a variety of ways, thus resulting in disagreement with regard to the assessment of the same risk (see for example Slovic et al. 2004, Jasanoff 1993, Clemen and Winkler 1999);
- the ways in which risk is communicated can make a significant impact on the way in which the risk is perceived, and thus on the way the risk is acted upon (see for example Frewer 2004, Gerrard, Gibbons, and Reis-Bergan 1998, Fagerlin et al. 2007);
- the deliberate actions of people create risk, as in the case of terrorism and cyber attacks (see for example Slovic 2002, Rees et al. 2011); and
- the behaviour and decisions of people throughout risk and crisis management processes may give rise to further risk, as in the case of emergency workers (see for example Gunnarsson and Stomberg 2009, Kowalski-Trakofler, Vaught, and Scharf 2003, Omodei, McLennan, and Reynolds 2005).
This special issue puts a spotlight on people as the object, actor and decision-maker in the analysis and treatment of known as well as emerging risks. SRA ANZ members are invited to submit original research papers aligned with the special issue theme from the perspective of a broad range of disciplines:
- Environment, ecology, natural disasters
- Human health and safety
- Engineering and infrastructure
- Defence and security
- Digital and cybersecurity
- Economics and business
- Psychology of risk
- Risk cultures
Papers in the special issue are expected to explore one or a combination of the following (or related) questions:
- How can we enrich our understanding of the different ways in which risk and crises make an impact on individuals and people in organisations? Are there risk impacts on people that have remained underexplored in the literature?
- How can we extend the frontiers of our understanding of the ways in which people perceive different risks? What factors of risk perception merit further investigation? How can risk perception be influenced at the level of individuals, organisations, and society?
- What further insights can we gain into how people consciously or unconsciously think about risk and how people undertake the risk analysis process?
- In light of our understanding of how people tend to think about risk, what quantitative or qualitative methods and approaches can we use to support the risk analysis process for improved risk management outcomes?
- How can a variety of risk communication approaches be employed to influence the perception of risk and encourage constructive risk mitigation behaviour?
- How can we deepen our understanding of the risk-creating behaviour of people?
The aim of the special issue is to showcase the work of scholars and scientists in the region, so as to positively contribute to risk analysis and risk management practice and policy elsewhere in the world. The issue likewise aspires to make significant strides towards robust theory-building on people and risk.
Dr Sandra Seno-Alday
University of Sydney Business School
President-elect, Society for Risk Analysis Australia and New Zealand (SRA ANZ)
About the journal:
The Journal of Risk Research (JRR) publishes high quality, peer-reviewed conceptual and empirical research on risk management across a broad range of disciplines. It is the official journal of the Society for Risk Analysis Europe (SRA-E) and the Society for Risk Analysis Japan (SRA-J).
For more information on the journal:
- Authors have to be current members of SRA ANZ (membership information - http://www.sraanz.org.nz/membership.html)
- Please include a cover letter addressed to the Guest Editor summarising how the paper aligns with the special issue theme
- Manuscript word count is not to exceed 8,000 words
- Times New Roman, 12-point font
- double-spaced, 2.5-cm margins
- reference style: Chicago author-date
- Please refer to the JRR style guide for more details (http://www.tandfonline.com/action/authorSubmission?journalCode=rjrr20&page=instructions)
Submission process:Please send your cover letter, title page (with corresponding author information), and manuscript (combined into one PDF file) to the special issue Guest Editor on or before Friday, the 3rd of February 2017.
Manuscripts will first go through an internal review process within SRA ANZ in order to determine alignment with the special issue theme, and to assure minimum standards of research quality.
Authors of papers selected for inclusion in the special issue will receive further instructions from the Guest Editor on how to proceed with submitting revised papers to JRR. The JRR editorial team will then conduct a review of all papers selected for inclusion in the special issue, and will make the final decision on paper acceptance.
Please direct any enquiries regarding this special issue to the special issue Guest Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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