Theories Of Risk Perception Management Essay


Discuss about the Theories of Risk Perception Management.



Fischhoff, Slovic, & Lichtenstein, (1988) gave insight into the different opinions of students regarding various events. In case of situations, where people find difficulty in identifying their values, then elicitation process shapes their values. The author particularly presents a confrontation between those have some values and those elicit values. The method of expression of values depends on situations. People’s true value is also dependent on different problem, the manner in which people respond to them and its impact on their judgment. The reading also gave an indication regarding the situations when people do not know what they want. For example, people may have clear preference when they have directly experienced a situation. In such cases, people learn by trial and error methods and justifiable response to future values is developed then. Hence, direct experience of working in certain situations developed certain ideas and values among people. However, people need to make many diverse choices in life where we do not held direct experience and so contradictory values exist. Secondly, values of people also changes with time and decision making becomes difficult then.

The generation of values and judgments of people has been found to be influenced by experimental procedures. In terms of psychological theory, it can be said that systematic effects lead to the random or systematic variations in observed judgment. Secondly, the author also gave insight regarding how ways to identify one’s desire, analyze options and consequences, measure values and controlling different perspectives. On this basis, rationally sound values and interest can be deepened. An elicitor looking to identify a person’s inherent values can get a lot of guidance from the process mentioned above and they can easily translate the basic disposition of respondents into a codable judgments so that people are very clear about the implications of their judgement. Another approach to strengthening perspective is to make respondents clear about different point of views and their benefits to analyse the rational for selecting their own values.

Relation with work experience

The above explanation of strengthening core values through appropriate judgment is related to my work experience. For example, in my first job, certain challenges in work made me change my perspective towards career goal. Although I had a very strong career ambition, however challenges in my job and no direct experience about challenges altered my judgment. I decided to quit the job and try some other things. However, one of my senior colleagues acted as a good elicitor for me as he gave me the idea that challenges are part of the job and once that phase is crossed, I would definitely start identifying my talent and contribution to the job. Hence, he acted as the right elicitor for me to affect my values and judgment. He did this by communication with me regarding the problems, the consequence of leaving the job so early and the implications of staying and benefits of dealing with the challenges. Hence, he deepened my perspective towards looking at my job and challenges.

Wildavsky and Dake (1990) discussed about different theories of risk perception and why people fear certain thing. The main purpose of the study was to evaluate to what degrees are people equally worried about risk and why is the perception of risk different for different people. Based on this evaluation, the characteristics of people can be determined, whether they are risk takers or averse to risk. The perception of risk was discussed on the basis of knowledge theory, personality theory, economic, political and cultural theories. For instance, the knowledge theory explains that people regarding something as dangerous because they are aware about the risk. The economic theory gave the indication that risk taking or risk aversion is dependent on the economy because the rich people are more likely to take risk and test something new which they do not have. On the other hand, the cultural theory gives the explanation that people regard certain actions as risky as this have an impact on their social relations. The whole risk aversion and risk taking attitude was explained on the premise of regarding technology as a risk factor for people. Similarly, from the egalitarian point of view, the argument was that egalitarian people give more rating to risk. All the rival theories were also tested by the risk perception data archive. In this case, the risk associated with technology was evaluated with list of concerns people have about society. The responses were explained on the factor of knowledge, personality, cultural biases and political orientation. Cultural biases was found as the best factor to predict risk perception findings and the prediction is more powerful than knowledge and personality factor. Hence, the main conclusion from the discussion was that culture of individualism favors risk taking and the egalitarian culture always stay away from risk taking. However, the weak correlation between culture biases and personality also revealed the influence of culture on risk perception. This study pointed towards the right approach for risk perception by analyzing about different explanations about fears in people.

Relation with personal experience:

I agree with the Wildavsky and Dake (1990) view that people from individualism culture favours risk taking and those from egalitarian culture are averse to risk. I can say this because I belong to the individualism group and I have opted to take many risk in my career so that get eventual benefit from it. Hence, my risk taking attitude was triggered by my wish to gain something in return. I took the risky step of leaving my well-established job and working on my own project of developing an application where I could provide excellent job opportunities to people in one place. I wanted to make job seeking a pleasant experience for job seekers and I was motivated to take this risk because of the expectation that if I am able to crack this project, I will be earning even more than before. In addition, all controls will be under my hand and I will not be limited to a 9 to 5 job to display my talent.

Jungermann (1983) gave useful debate and arguments regarding the two groups of people- the rational and irrational people. He defined rationality as a philosophical concept in which an action is defined as rational if it is line with values and belief of a person. The psychology of judgement and decision is further understood from the normative models and actual judgment. This model regarded violation of rationality as the true deficiency of the decision maker. In the debate, Jungermann (1983) categorized the pessimist into the first camp and the optimist into the second camp. The pessimist regard decision making under certainty may lead to certain problems, whereas the optimist think that their judgment will be functional even in complex situations. Therefore, both camps have different approach towards rationality and violations of rationality was seen due to limited judgment capacity and decision making ability of people. The author explained these violations of rationality in both camps.

For the pessimist camp, violation of rationality was seen due to judgmental biases, representational faults and coping defeats. For example judgmental bias is seen when people mainly rely on heuristics and this leads to inconsistent decisions. Secondly, representational faults is seen when people evaluate any decision on basis of gains and losses instead of thinking about the final state. Another factor leading to violation of rationality in pessimist camp includes poor coping mechanism or motivations among people. In addition, for the optimist camp, meta decisions differ on the basis of familiarity of the situation and knowledge about the subject. The continuity argument for the second camp was that judgment is a continous process and biases in decision making is seen when people regard it as discrete event and do not regard it as functional. The final lesson from both sides of the debate was that rationality concepts is used with different meanings in both group and people should be liberal in using the rational concepts.

Relation with work experience

The above explanation of pessimistic and optimistic group’s decision making and concept about rationality is related to my work experience. I could relate with the information given for optimist camp that they always regard their decision as useful and functional in specific situations. For example, there were certain projects which were too complex and my decision making determined the success of the project. Hence, I planned my decision for the project with a positive mindset. Hence, I approach to deal with difficult circumstances with a productive mindset. With such focus, my rationality was based on impact of decisions on productivity. Therefore, I looked for all factors available that would determine the success of the project and I finalized my decision on the basis of benefits of application of the strategy. This may violate the rationality model as only available factors and not all factors for success were evaluated. Still it is perfectly rational because checking infinite resource available is not possible in finite time.

Green (1994) gives a discussion about neutral omnipartial rule-making (NORM) which is a theoretical approach to moral choice giving an idea about underlying logic of moral reasoning process in terms of choice. NORM has been discussed in ethical writing of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) and the main idea was that moral reasoning can be a great source of support when interest related conflict occurs. Hence, moral reasoning is the basis on which people can tolerate certain conducts or behavior. According to the moral reasoning process, a major consideration is that a conduct must be publicly known and acceptable all people in society. Another way by which moral reasoning was explained was that it is legislative processs that supports abiding by the rules. Hence, an action is right if all members of the society perceived it as right. The two questions that were raised based on this definition was that whether the approach is related to relativism and how society can morally decide moral actions where people are against other groups. The author gave the explanation that in the definition, the possibility of victimization in different group in society has been excluded. Therefore, NORM is used to assess conduct or policies, but not on the basis of vote by people in the society. To come to a valid conclusion despite different claims in society, NORM uses the principle of impartiality to determine a fair action. The word impartiality was also defined by the term detachment or omni-partiality. To come to moral decisions, taking omnipartial views from many persons also help. Therefore, NORM has been found to support common intuition because it emphasized on a conduct to be publicly accepted according to most basic judgment about moral choice. It can be summarized that NORM helps to interpret morality of difficult actions and engage in a reasoning process when rules conflict. This eventually leads to a better conduct.

The above mentioned reading explored the moral reasoning process and the morality of an action by utilizing the NORM approach. I have used a similar NORM like action to evaluate the moral basis of my decisions too. For instance, as a work manager, I had the responsibility to achieve certain targets as given by my company. However, as few days remained and we were still far away from the target, I had to take some harsh decision so that I could eventually achieved the target. The decision in which moral reasoning was required was whether I should force all employees to work extra time for few days or not? I evaluated the moral basis of my action by being omni-partial and putting myself into my team member’s position. I analyzed about all those who will be affected by this conduct. Contemplating great ethical issues from staff, I gave the option of to team members of voluntary choosing extra work hours instead of forcing them.


Fischhoff, B., Slovic, P., & Lichtenstein, S. (1988). Knowing what you want: Measuring labile values. Decision Making: Descriptive, Normative and Prescriptive Interactions, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 398-421.

Green, R.M., 1994. The ethical manager: A new method for business ethics. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Jungermann, H., 1983. The two camps on rationality. Advances in Psychology, 16, pp.63-86.

Wildavsky, A. and Dake, K., 1990. Theories of risk perception: Who fears what and why?. Daedalus, pp.41-60.

How to cite this essay: