The practice of risk management: Silence is not absence

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In contrast to risk management studies on organisations that overtly deal with risk, this article explores organisational risk management in a context in which risk is more or less absent from managerial vocabulary or organisational communication. It presents a single case study of a Swedish public transportation authority in which managers actually attend to a multitude of risk matters through contracts, a selective view of responsibility and dialogues, but without explicitly referring to them as risks. Two related claims are made on the basis of this case study. One is that the practice of risk management needs to be decoupled from the theories of risk management; another is that risk management practices do not need to be explicit but can be embedded in the managerial tactics (after De Certeau, 1990) that characterise the organisation ’ s operational mode. Put concisely, silence does not necessarily mean the absence of risk management. This calls for a redefinition of the boundaries and nature of risk management theory and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-304
JournalRisk Management
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • public transportation
  • Public-Private Partnerships (PPP)
  • risk management
  • practice
  • Sweden


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