The A-B-C of risk culture: How to be Risk Mature

Everyone knows that culture is important – but why? What about risk culture? What should you do if your project or organisation takes too much risk – or too little?  Starting from first principles, this paper unpacks the key characteristics of culture, explaining what it is – and what it is not. Culture arises from repeated Behaviour – if we do the same things over and over again we will develop a shared approach to “how we do things around here”.

But behaviour is based on our underlying Attitudes – how we think shapes our actions. This gives us the A-B-C Model of culture: Attitudes shape Behaviour which forms Culture. There are also feedback loops as the prevailing Culture also influences how we think and act.

The A-B-C Model is also true of our approach to risk. If we want to develop a risk-mature culture, we need to behave in an appropriate way towards risk. But this in turn will be driven by our risk attitudes. This paper explores the central role of risk attitude as a key underlying driver of risk behaviour and risk culture, and shows how to change the risk culture by actively managing our attitude to risk.

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