Centre for Risk, Banking and Financial Services
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Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Seminar Series

Lessons in the management of 'People Risk': A multi-disciplinary approach

Research on 'key employees' and their effects on the firm are found across many academic disciplines but remains fragmented and intellectually diffused, especially when discussing it within an industry specific management and mitigation research context. People risk may arise from the actions or behaviours of a person, or persons, due to inadequate/insufficient methods, processes, systems or controls to the detriment of strategic objectives. The consideration of people as an underlying cause of risk (now termed 'people risk') is deeply rooted in people being the most important asset in the firm.

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However, in particular industries failures by 'key employees' (pilots, air traffic controllers, financial market traders, surgeons, train drivers, maritime captains) can have catastrophic economic, societal, and environmental consequences, thus creating a situation where employees can also be the most volatile liability in the firm.

The ESRC 'Lessons in People Risk Management' seminar series aims to bring together academics, researchers, industry practitioners, government agencies and post graduate students from both domestic and international bodies to share experiences and generate new knowledge and perspectives about the management of 'People Risk' within their own industries.

The series aims to achieve this through a number of one-day seminars, with ring fenced travel funds for PhD students interested in any area of the seminar series over its lifespan – we really think you are important to this dialogue.

Videos and presentations are now available for seminar 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 on the Past and Futures Seminars page.


We will employ a fully inclusive attendance policy throughout the seminar series as it is our contention that the more angles that can be covered in any one session then the stronger our sessions and series will be. However certain locations will have restrictions on the number of spaces available and these will be detailed on the specific seminar pages.   Attendance is always free but attendees are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation costs.

However we do have a limited number of small travel bursaries available to everyone (additional to ring-fenced PhD bursaries). Applicants should indicate if they wish to be considered for a bursary when they register their interest.


The seminar series has just secured a special edition with the Journal of risk Research. Further details


Seminar 6:  Strategies for advocacy, knowledge transfer, and tangible research networking


The final seminar aims to explore the barriers to awareness of, and mobilisation of, cross disciplinary 'people risk' research, along with the information and actions to lower them.

Date: 27th November 2015, 10am - 4pm

Venue: Willis Building, London           

Keynote Speaker: -  Professor Ragnar Löfstedt – Kings College London

Programme: - See below 

Maximum Attendance: 25 (For security reasons entry will only be guaranteed using the registration link opposite)

PhD students: We have a number of travel bursaries available, please contact Dr Cormac Bryce for more detail

Register for a place


         In association with



Dr Tomasso Palermo – London School of Economics 

Tommaso is a Lecturer at the LSE – Department of Accounting with a PhD in Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering (Politecnico di Milano, Italy). His research interests include the design and use of risk and performance management systems, risk culture in financial sector organizations, safety management in the aviation sector, and the role of accounting in the creation of markets for contested commodities. He has co-authored a research report on Risk Culture in Financial Organisations.  

Paper for Discussion: Searching for risk culture: sites and dynamics

Interest in the cultures of organisations and their effects on management practices goes back many years and there is an extensive body of scholarship on this topic. Yet this interest has increased dramatically in the period since 2008. The debate is led by the world of practice, particularly in the financial services sector. Furthermore, a new twist in the vocabulary of culture has taken place and companies, advisers and regulators now seem to have a specific focus on something called ‘risk culture’. The presentation draws on the findings of a research project, started in 2012, which aimed to explore what financial sector organisations, advisers and regulators say and do about risk culture. The production of risk culture as a new managerial and regulatory object is analysed based on deep participation in a number of financial organizations, and general immersion in an emerging field via analysis of practice texts and attendance at industry events. It is shown how risk culture is theorized and how it gives rise to activity in a range of different ‘sites’, understood as discrete pockets of actors, resources and workstreams within companies, advisers and regulators.  Overall, risk culture has weak diagnostic and procedural characteristics, and is variously specified and operationalized by an emergent field of actors.  This variety suggests that risk culture is weakly institutionalized and lacks an authorized centre of knowledge production. Consequently, risk culture workstreams tend either to lose organizational traction or are absorbed into existing risk and performance management infrastructures.

Dr Steven Shorrock – University of New South Wales

Steven is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales, School of Aviation, specialising in human factors and work psychology with a background in practice and research in safety-critical industries. His main interest is human and system behaviour in the context of safety-related organisations. He seeks to enable safety improvement via a combination of systems thinking, design thinking and humanistic thinking.

Steven is a registered member of the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (IEHF), a member of the Association for Humanistic Psychology in Britain, and a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society. Currently working as a human factors and safety specialist in air traffic control, Steven works all over Europe.

Paper for Discussion: The research-practice relationship: barriers and constraints affecting research application 

The research-practice relationship is a consistent theme across many disciplines that have theoretical and applied branches in their domain. A particular concern is that the vast majority of research does not find an application in practice. There are many reasons for this, to improve the situation we need to understand the barriers and constraints that affect practice. This talk discusses research and thinking on the research-practice relationship in human factors and ergonomics, and the lessons that might exists for applied risk research in practice.
Dr Beth Kewell – London School of Commerce 
Dr. Beth Kewell is an author and academic who specialises in the study of risk comprehension, risk mitigation and risk governance.  Her research efforts to date have focused on evaluating the links between language, organisational culture and decision-making in clinical, scientific and business-related contexts typified by high levels of uncertainty. Dr. Kewell also maintains a keen interest in the philosophical attributes of risk science and risk measurement, having recently co-written Risk: A Study of Its Origins, History and Politics with Professor Matthias Beck of Queen’s University, Belfast.  Dr. Kewell has worked as an academic in both the UK and Norway.  She is currently affiliated to the London School of Commerce, as a Director of Studies for the Research Degrees Programme.

Paper for Discussion: Analysing Risk, Contemplating Leadership: Reflections on an Executive-Level Interview Project 

This talk explores the practical, intellectual and methodological grounding of a recent "Thought Leadership" project, carried out by staff from York Management School, on behalf of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). The project took place during the winter of 2014-2015, when the political uncertainty of a forthcoming general election,  terrorism fears,  the potential spread of Ebola and the slowing pace of economic recovery were newsworthy topics.  Our aim in compiling "Risk Mindfulness and Clumsy Solutions" (Linsley and Kewell, 2015) was  to capture the zietgiest of executive risk-sensemaking at this important juncture, particularly amongst ICAEW accredited experts and professionals employed in prominent positions at nonfinancial UK-based businesses,  located in a range of sectors, from small business consulting to major corporate firms. The expert interviews we conducted as part of this process yeilded important insights into these and other concerns related to the concomitant themes of corporate risk mastery, vigilance, and  organisational resilience-building.

Professor Ragnar Löfstedt – Kings College London 
Ragnar is Professor of Risk Management and the Director of King’s Centre for Risk Management, King’s College London, UK where he teaches and conducts research on risk communication and management.  Previously he was a Reader in Social Geography at the University of Surrey, UK. He is also an adjunct Faculty at the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, Harvard School of Public Health where he directs the Risk Communication Challenge Course for continuing education professionals. He is Adjunct Professor at the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University and a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Public Sector Research, Gothenburg University, Sweden.
Paper for Discussion: The future directions of risk research


More information


Contact Us

For further information please contact:

Dr Cormac Bryce
Email: Cormac.bryce@nottingham.ac.uk
+44 (0) 115 846 6690

TwitterTwitter: @Riskyacademics


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