Can Organisational Failures be Prevented Before They Occur? (A discussion about Corporate Governance and Risk Management)

Barnes, Paul H. (2005) Can Organisational Failures be Prevented Before They Occur? (A discussion about Corporate Governance and Risk Management). In 4th Global Conference on Business & Economics, June 26-28, 2005, St. Hugh's College, Oxford University. (Unpublished)


Given the recurrence of corporate and other organisational failures in recent years, one might wonder if both self-regulation within corporate and industrial settings and active government regulation is ineffective in an increasingly complex and changing modern world. A question that might also be asked is how (and what) organisations and governments learn from such failures? By extension it must be assumed that relevant aspects of what is learnt (or rediscovered) influences new policy or legislative change thus enhancing governance and further reducing the likelihood of future failure. With the presumption that causal and conditional evidence about such failures always awaits discovery and that humans and human systems 'learn,' the viability of anticipating future failure is self-evident.

Drawing on a number of conceptual traditions including Normal Accident Theory (why large complex organisational systems tend to fail), High Reliability Organisations (how some organisations minimise failure), and Crisis Prone Organisations, this paper argues that a capacity to anticipate failures and mitigate loss, is theoretically possible as a result of enhanced and directed professional practice in Corporate Governance and Risk Management. The paper also argues that while such capacities are valuable and may be sought after, the processes required to deliver organisational learning may often require adjustments outside 'the corporate comfort zone.'

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ID Code: 2120
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Corporate Governance, Risk Management, Normal Accident Theory
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 27 Sep 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2011 13:25

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