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Starting in the post-Civil War era, the United States moved steadily toward an industrialized mass production, mass consumption society. As corporations grew in size and enjoyed virtually unlimited risk self-governance, critics of such processes and practices battled to define what risk levels are safe and how fair any level of safety is. That battle continues today as a contest over each society’s willingness and ability to engage in the quality of risk governance sufficient to control risks in the public interest. This dialectic pits the self-interest of individual organizations against the aggregate risk management structures, processes, and co-created meaning of society: The rationale of society is the collective management of risk through effective, ethical control and societal efficacy. This chapter features that dialectic as it argues that risk management and communication is not only a technical and strategic challenge but also a cultural one whereby various voices of power discourse are engaged to abate and correct the locus and application of control. That dynamic includes the ability of organizations to benefit from risk management by shifting the cost of the risk onto key publics, whether other organizations, government or the general or specific publics. Starting in the 1970s in the US, the disciplines of risk management and communication, as well as issues management, matured to address the balances between the interests of risk generators, arbiters and risk bearers. This chapter uses that foundation along with the theory of deliberative democracy to reason that risk governance requires joined and collaborative discourse to wisely understand, fairly distribute, and ethically benefit from risk-reward relationships which ultimately make society more fully functioning through appropriate balances of control and efficacy. To that end, the chapter features concepts such as legitimacy, control, and efficacy as foundational to the rationale of authority necessary for effective and ethical risk governance.
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- Interest, Interest, Whose Interest Is at Risk? Risk Governance, Issues Management, and the Fully Functioning Society
Robert L. Heath
- Springer Netherlands
- Chapter 7