Mastering Catastrophic Risk: How Companies Are Coping with Disruption

ISBN : 9780190499402

Howard Kunreuther; Michael Useem
256 Pages
164 x 242 mm
Pub date
Sep 2018
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Risk taking is inherent in competition and managing risk well is a mark of successful firms. Doing so is increasingly challenging given the pace of change, whether financial, technological, environmental, reputational, or political. Rethinking Catastrophic Risk draws on extensive interviews with risk managers to provide real-world insights and a framework for smart thinking and planning for possible disruptions, adverse events, or crises that could seriously harm the normal business functions or operations of a firm. Corporate leaders face a series of ever-more-challenging decisions to avoid and respond to perils that can be caused by external forces or by harmful actions within the firm. The business world is growing ever riskier given rapid changes generated by increasing concentration of populations and assets, complex interdependencies of markets and supply-chains, pressures of short-term demands for results, and the pressures of transparency combined with the prominence of social media. Some shocks can be anticipated, but many others come as a surprise and create considerable stress on decision makers, often leading to even worse outcomes. As leading authorities on risk management, decision processes, and leadership, Howard Kunreuther, Erwann Michel-Kerjan, and Michael Useem draw on their extensive experience to enhance understanding of risk management and call for improving resilience to future shocks as an integral part of corporate strategy. This book is chock-full of anecdotes based on extensive interviews with leaders from all sectors of the Fortune 500 and provides a framework for linking intuitive and deliberative thinking for managing low-probability, high-consequence events. It highlights the importance of institutional arrangements and leadership capability and will benefit managers at all levels and especially executives and directors seeking to reposition their firms to better anticipate and manage adverse events.


Prologue: On a Sunny Day

About the author: 

Howard Kunreuther is the James G. Dinan Professor of Decision Sciences and Public Policy and Co-Director of the Center for Risk Management and Decision Processes at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.; Michael Useem is the William and Jaclyn Egan Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Leadership and Change Management at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

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