Risk You Can Eat

imageThe risk and safety industry just continues to get more absurd as it ventures into conceptual metaphor of eating and diet as it seek to make sense of the unquantifiable nature of risk (https://safetyrisk.net/quantifying-the-unquantifiable/). Then the industry goes into complete gobbledygook mode as it endeavours to measure risk through the subjective metaphors of hunger and appetite. No wonder the industry is so confused (https://www.theirm.org/what-we-say/thought-leadership/risk-appetite-and-tolerance/).

So, in order to help the industry out, the following are provided for further clarification and definition of risk:

Risk Bulimia: gorging on risk then purging for zero harm.

Risk Anorexia: thinking you have engorged yourself on risk when you haven’t taken any risk.

Risk Diet: Knowing you’ve had too much risk and need to give up.

Keto Risk: Redefining risk so that it can be eaten differently.

Risk Obesity: Having such excesses in bureaucracy that one cannot move.

Paleo Risk: Eating risk like cave dwellers.

Dukan Risk: Meaty risk without balance.

Atkins Risk: Risk without substance.

Pica Risk: Eating everything that has no risk.

Rumination Risk: Regurgitating the same old fear of risk and re-eating it.

Purging Risk: Taking laxatives because bureaucracy gives you the shits.

OSFED Risk: Not being able to define zero risk and being scared of not having enough bureaucracy.

Orthorexia Risk: Obsessive paranoia about risk and zero without a way of naming your disorder.

Of course, neither STEM or the risk and safety industry has a clue about the use of metaphor. The penetrating work of Lakoff and Johnson (Lakoff and Johnson, (1980) Metaphors We Live By http://shu.bg/tadmin/upload/storage/161.pdf ) is not likely to be in any risk, safety or STEM curriculum (https://safetyrisk.net/isnt-it-time-we-reformed-the-whs-curriculum/; https://safetyrisk.net/knowledge-and-curriculum-for-risk-and-safety-people/ ). Yet understanding metaphor is central to all human communication (https://safetyrisk.net/why-metaphors-matter-in-risk/). Understanding metaphor comes from outside of the STEM Knowledge culture (https://safetyrisk.net/safety-as-a-knowledge-culture/) and yet the industry ventures into the language of metaphor and then wonders why it confuses the hell out of an industry looking for measurement. Then when the industry imposes matrices and other dangerous tools (https://vimeo.com/166158437) in the delusional quest for measurement, people lose sight of the simple ways in which risk should be tackled.

When one uses metaphor as well all do, one moves from quantitative thinking to qualitative thinking. Of course metaphor doesn’t really make sense, it’s an indirect mode of communication that describes something by what it is not. This poses significant problems for the discipline of risk management as is evidenced by the extensive debate about ‘risk appetite’ (https://normanmarks.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/the-continuing-failure-of-the-risk-appetite-debate-to-focus-on-desired-levels-of-risk/ ).

What a headache it is to use all silly quantitative measures for the subjectivity of risk as if risk can be quantified. Recently, I have never seen so much nonsense and excessive bureaucracy on risk appetite and risk hunger, who thought up this nonsense???

Dr Rob Long

Dr Rob Long

Expert in Social Psychology, Principal & Trainer at Human Dymensions
Dr Rob Long

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Dr Rob Long
PhD., MEd., MOH., BEd., BTh., Dip T., Dip Min., Cert IV TAA, MRMIA Rob is the founder of Human Dymensions and has extensive experience, qualifications and expertise across a range of sectors including government, education, corporate, industry and community sectors over 30 years. Rob has worked at all levels of the education and training sector including serving on various post graduate executive, post graduate supervision, post graduate course design and implementation programs.

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