Risk Analysis pp 153-165 | Cite as

Social Conflict Assessment in the Design of Risk Management Systems

  • Michael L. Poirier Elliott
Part of the Advances in Risk Analysis book series (AIRA, volume 8)


Risk management strategies frequently generate conflict. This conflict results not only from differences in interests associated with expected outcomes, but just as fundamentally from divergent assessments, perceptions and values associated with risk management. These differences impair communication and creativity in decision making and inhibit decisive action. To effectively design, implement and administer policy, the risk manager must therefore generate cooperation amongst the individuals and organizations that can block action. An effective risk management system is consequently also a conflict management and consensus building system. Hence, methods for more effectively coping with conflict in risk management systems are needed. This paper examines the root sources of risk-based conflict, develops methods for assessing potential conflict as part of a risk management process, and presents an alternative approach to designing risk management systems built upon concepts of both risk assessment and social conflict assessment. The approach focuses analysis on a wider range of concerns than is typically envisioned by risk analysts, and is imbedded in models of policy making and dispute resolution. Based upon simulations involving risk managers and policymakers in waste management systems, the approach shows promise of facilitating workable risk management policy.


Risk management dispute resolution hazardous waste risk perception simulations 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael L. Poirier Elliott
    • 1
  1. 1.Georgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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