Exploring the Conceptual Foundation of Continuity Management in the Context of Societal Safety

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Public and private actors with critical roles for ensuring societal safety need to work proactively to reduce risks and vulnerabilities. Traditionally, risk management activities have often been performed in order to ensure continuous functioning of key societal services. Recently, however, business continuity management (BCM), and its analytical subcomponent business impact assessment (BIA), has been introduced and used more extensively by both the private and public sector in order to increase the robustness and resilience of critical infrastructures and societal functions and services. BCM was originally developed in the business sector but has received a broader use during the last decade. Yet, BCM/BIA has gained limited attention in the scientific literature—especially when it comes to clarifying and developing its conceptual basis. First, this article examines and discusses the conceptual foundation of BCM concepts, including practical challenges of applying the concepts. Based on recent conceptual developments from the field of risk management, a developed conceptualization is suggested. Second, the article discusses challenges that arise when applying BCM in the societal safety area and provides some recommendations aiming to improve the clarity and quality of applications. Third, the article provides suggestions of how to integrate the overlapping approaches of BIA and risk assessment in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness of proactive, analytic processes. We hope that the article can stimulate a critical discussion about the key concepts of BCM, their wider use in societal safety, and their connection to other concepts and activities such as risk assessment.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Infrastructure Engineering
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • Business continuity, business impact assessment, conceptual foundation, risk assessment, societal safety
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1503-1519
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number7
Early online date2019 Jan 9
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch