Societal concerns and risk decisions

Ball, David J. and Boehmer-Christiansen, S. (2006) Societal concerns and risk decisions. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 144 (1-2). pp. 556-563. ISSN 0304-3894

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2006.10.070

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Abstract

Societal concern is a relatively new term and refers to hazards with the capability to generate socio-political responses. Hazards invoking societal concerns pose a challenge to decision makers for they oftentimes have major policy implications yet frequently lack the analytic support affording them such elevated status. Regulators and corporate risk managers, therefore, have been confronted with the difficult question – how and to what extent should societal concerns be factored into risk management decisions? – a question which is compounded by the tendency of ‘politicians’ to want to accommodate these concerns. Here we first seek to explore the drivers of societal concerns prior to considering the implications for decision makers. We conclude that societal concerns stem from highly disparate causes, are not necessarily originated by the public as is often implied, and as such have markedly differing legitimacies. Furthermore, we note that attempts to incorporate societal concerns into risk decisions raise a host of methodological, political, and ethical issues which suggest, at the very least, that deep caution is required, especially where policy implications are high.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:Science & Technology > Environmental Science
Citations on ISI Web of Science:0
ID Code:238
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Deposited On:30 Oct 2008 12:34
Last Modified:27 Mar 2014 08:06

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