A variety of academics have provided numerous definitions of risk, with some being centred around a specific business environment and others being a more generic definition of risk. A comprehensive risk definition that is tailored around the business environment can be defined as an event that will likely lead to substantial losses for an organisation, which could also be made more dangerous by the likelihood of the risk event occurring (Harland, et al., 2003). Furthermore, The English Oxford Dictionary defines risk as “A situation involving exposure to danger” or “The possibility that something unpleasant or unwelcome will happen”. (Oxford Dictionary, 2015) Kaplan and Garrick (1981, p. 12) provide a simple equation for risk, which is “risk = uncertainty + damage”. They believe that it is irrelevant as to what context risk exists in, and that the same equation can always be used to identify and manage risk. However, risk can still be categorised differently depending on what facet of the organisation it is affecting. For example, supply chain risk can be defined as “”the variation in the distribution of possible supply chain outcomes, their likelihood, and their subjective values” (March & Shapira, 1987, p. 1404). This is quite different to other, more generalised definitions of risk.
Before a risk management strategy can be decided upon, the risk event must first be identified. An organisation should conduct three steps before deciding on the best risk management strategy to use. As risk management can use a substantial amount of resources, clarification and direction should be decided upon before conducting risk management. The three factors are (Stanleigh, 2015);
Once an organisation has identified any unexpected risk events that may occur, they must focus all their resources of deciding which risk event should be tackled first. Most organisations will have a limited amount of resources, and will only be able to tackle one of two risk events at a time. If a plethora of risk events are likely to occur, this means prioritising which ones to minimise. This means that companies have to assess the impact that a risk event can have on an organisations financial and market performance, and focus all their resources to eliminate the most dangerous risks first.
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