Beyond the headlines: day-to-day practices of risk measurement and management in a non-governmental organization

Matthew Hall, Renuka Fernando

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Risk has long been a prominent feature in the operation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), where discussions of risk have focused on headline-making events, such as misdeeds stemming from cases of fraud, financial misreporting and corruption, and operational failures.Although important, in this chapter we focus on the day-to-day practices of riskwork which we observed in a study of a large UK-based international development NGO. This work included the use of risk matrices and templates to understand and document threats to human security, and the use of risk indicators to measure legal compliance and security risk management in developing country operations. We examine how the formalization of risk management through templates and indicators can facilitate risk assessments, discussion, and analysis, but can also prove problematic when, over time, such formalizations and codification can take priority over the provision of advice and decision-making support to operational staff.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRiskwork
Subtitle of host publicationEssays on the Organizational Life of Risk Management
EditorsMichael Power
Place of PublicationOxford UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9780198753223
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • risk management
  • fraud
  • compliance
  • templates
  • matrices
  • indicators
  • risk maps
  • formalization
  • non-governmental organizations

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