Exploring dimensions of risk management practice in Australasian universities: a mixed methods study

Doctorate other than PhD

McCabe, Carol Lorraine. 2021. Exploring dimensions of risk management practice in Australasian universities: a mixed methods study. Doctorate other than PhD Doctor of Professional Studies. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/pnnz-xx77

Exploring dimensions of risk management practice in Australasian universities: a mixed methods study

TypeDoctorate other than PhD
AuthorMcCabe, Carol Lorraine
Supervisorvan der Laan, Luke
Harmes, Marcus
Kleidon, Mark
Brooks, David
McNeill, Rhod
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Professional Studies
Number of Pages278
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/pnnz-xx77

The nature of risk management has significantly and rapidly advanced due to global rapid change with the occurrence of unprecedented risk events. Change is no longer linear but has become seditious. This phenomenon combined with decreased community risk tolerance, has led to risk management environments dealing with complex and bounded risk management frameworks reflecting compliance traditions. Emerging literature has suggested that risk management has shifted away from an analytic and internal focus to embracing a new paradigm linking leadership, risk management practice and strategy. Risk management thinking in the nexus between compliance focused risk management practice and strategic risk management practice has been advocated but literature that has investigated what the related strategic risk management practice looks like, is rare. The aim of this study was to explore risk management practice in Australasian universities and describe what form a strategic risk management approach may assume. Australasian universities still largely practice risk management within an audit, compliance, and reporting framework of risk management. The research reveals that universities are aware that risk should inform a strategic risk management approach but are unclear as to how this shift affects current practice or what a strategic risk management framework in universities may look like. As such, this study is focused on conducting rigorous research based on current theory to develop an evidence-based insight as to current risk management practice and articulate the evidence into the development of a strategic risk management framework as an original knowledge contribution to professional practice. The review of the extant literature underpinned the research within the context of the aim of the study while developing an understanding of current risk management practice in Australasian universities. Based on the different approaches that were identified in the literature the following research questions guided the study: a)What is current risk management practice in Australasian universities? b) How does current risk management practice interpret strategic risk management? c)How does current risk management in Australasian universities differ from a Strategic Risk Management (SRM) approach as reported in the literature and expert opinion? The evidence emerging from the study suggested that Australasian universities should shift their risk management focus from audit, compliance and reporting requirement toward a broader risk management framework that includes input into the organisation’s strategy considerations. The importance of risk perception, consultation and communication were highlighted as critical cross organisational functions of contemporary risk management practice. The study also suggests that certain audit, compliance, and reporting function remain within the framework. However, the realisation that all risk cannot be identified and mitigated was affirmed. Based on these research insights the study included the development of a strategic risk management framework as an artefact. Both the evidence and artefact represent the original knowledge contribution to professional practice made by the study. The research apprehended the issue that was of importance in the study creating a strategic risk management framework. The artefact will enable a movement towards embracing a future in risk management practice. A further investigation in the issue of addressing strategic risk management either across higher education institutions or as a general industry practice would be of great interest and use to risk practitioners. Further, an enquiry into the risk dimensions either as a group or individually, would assist in understanding more detail of what role foresight, strategic thinking, decision making and strategic planning play in strategic risk management practice. In conclusion, the research study has met its goals and generated outcomes in the form of a doctoral study and artefact. There are opportunities to further investigate the strategic risk framework in a broader sense including the core strategic risk dimensions as illustrated in this study.

Keywordsstrategic risk management; universities; Australia
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020350799. Strategy, management and organisational behaviour not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
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