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Managing the social amplification of risk: a simulation of interacting actors

Managing the social amplification of risk: a simulation of interacting actors
Managing the social amplification of risk: a simulation of interacting actors
A central problem in managing risk is dealing with social processes that either exaggerate or understate it. A longstanding approach to understanding such processes has been the social amplification of risk framework. But this implies that some true level of risk becomes distorted in social actors’ perceptions. Many risk events are characterised by such uncertainties, disagreements and changes in scientific knowledge that it becomes unreasonable to speak of a true level of risk. The most we can often say in such cases is that different groups believe each other to be either amplifying or attenuating a risk. This inherent subjectivity raises the question as to whether risk managers can expect any particular kinds of outcome to emerge. This question is the basis for a case study of zoonotic disease outbreaks using systems dynamics as a modelling medium. The model shows that processes suggested in the social amplification of risk framework produce polarised risk responses among different actors, but that the subjectivity magnifies this polarisation considerably. As this subjectivity takes more complex forms it leaves problematic residues at the end of a disease outbreak, such as an indefinite drop in economic activity and an indefinite increase in anxiety.
social amplification of risk framework, zoonosis, risk perception, risk management, system dynamics, simulation
0160-5682
638-653
Busby, Jeremy
58ad9a6a-0450-4cc3-a68b-12cc74796cce
Onggo, Stephan
8e9a2ea5-140a-44c0-9c17-e9cf93662f80
Busby, Jeremy
58ad9a6a-0450-4cc3-a68b-12cc74796cce
Onggo, Stephan
8e9a2ea5-140a-44c0-9c17-e9cf93662f80

Busby, Jeremy and Onggo, Stephan (2013) Managing the social amplification of risk: a simulation of interacting actors. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 64 (5), 638-653. (doi:10.1057/jors.2012.80).

Record type: Article

Abstract

A central problem in managing risk is dealing with social processes that either exaggerate or understate it. A longstanding approach to understanding such processes has been the social amplification of risk framework. But this implies that some true level of risk becomes distorted in social actors’ perceptions. Many risk events are characterised by such uncertainties, disagreements and changes in scientific knowledge that it becomes unreasonable to speak of a true level of risk. The most we can often say in such cases is that different groups believe each other to be either amplifying or attenuating a risk. This inherent subjectivity raises the question as to whether risk managers can expect any particular kinds of outcome to emerge. This question is the basis for a case study of zoonotic disease outbreaks using systems dynamics as a modelling medium. The model shows that processes suggested in the social amplification of risk framework produce polarised risk responses among different actors, but that the subjectivity magnifies this polarisation considerably. As this subjectivity takes more complex forms it leaves problematic residues at the end of a disease outbreak, such as an indefinite drop in economic activity and an indefinite increase in anxiety.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 1 May 2012
Published date: May 2013
Keywords: social amplification of risk framework, zoonosis, risk perception, risk management, system dynamics, simulation

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 425235
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/425235
ISSN: 0160-5682
PURE UUID: 0cae418a-a1af-4071-9f5f-15494caacda4
ORCID for Stephan Onggo: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5899-304X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 11 Oct 2018 16:30
Last modified: 29 Oct 2019 01:22

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