Classes of socio-technical hazards: Microscopic and macroscopic scales of risk analysis

Stuart Anderson, Massimo Felici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Understanding risk in technology involves analyzing of diverse socio-technical aspects and their interaction. This is due to the risk complexity, which often inhibits the effectiveness as well as the applicability of purely technological risk analysis (as distinct from organizational risk analysis). Diverse accounts of risk in technology advocate and argue about different aspects of technology risk. Although a first insight of these accounts might result in controversial understandings of risk, a further analysis highlights how they often point out similar (or compatible) conclusions about technology risk. This paper draws on diverse accounts of technology risk. Multidisciplinary perspectives of risk allow us to identify and define three classes of socio-technical hazards: boundary, evolutionary and performativity hazards. These classes enhance our understanding of technology risk. They highlight out how diverse accounts of risk refer to different granularities of risk – (technological) microscopic and (organizational) macroscopic levels of risk analysis. The benefit of understanding and capturing socio-technical accounts of risk is twofold. On the one hand, it points toward an interdisciplinary account of technology risk. On the other hand, it provides a means for structuring risk analysis according to multidisciplinary perspectives. The combination of different levels of risk analysis enhances our understanding of the risk of technology innovation with respect to classes of socio-technical hazards.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-240
Number of pages33
JournalRisk Management
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2009


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