I enter the discussion on risk at a stage when many things have been
clarified (almost), so only a brief additional comment.
For quite a few years I have been interested in the links between
cybernetics/systems approach (or whatever we may call it) and broadly
defined security. It also allows me to project those issue in management.
All considerations on risk can be reduced to prediction and its
On the cybernetics/systems research side the challenge of prediction is
relatively well-known. What is less known is the problem of risk, which
in my opinion is a specific semantic problem of normative
interpretation of relations between past, present and future.
As in all social studies, two basic polar approaches are distinguished in
"risk studies" - objective and subjective (constructivist).
When we use the term risk, we have to declare what risk we are taking into
consideration since it has become just another "buzzword" of modern
society and social sciences.
By the way, we are actually living in the "Risk Society" according to the
views promoted by sociologist Ulrich Beck.
In my research on risk (threats, dangers, vulnerabilities and the like)
systems thinking can be applied in better understanding both the
cappabilities and limitations of prediction. In that case both VSM as a
general framework and CAS as specific methods of mathematical modelling
are helpful. Those two approaces are recalled just as examples. There also
other methodological frameworks.
In addition to help understanding barriers and posssibilities in
the studies of "objective risk", I find systems approach as helpful in
identifying "subjective" barriers to prediction (psychological and
social). Due to the latter, we frequently discover "predictable
surprises". Once I even had to use in my writings an idea of "politically
correct worst case scenarios".
If there is an interest in the links between risk and systems thinking,
and if my plans allow, I could present more details on that topic during
next Metaphorum meeting.
Best regards, Czeslaw Mesjasz
Assoc. Prof. dr hab. Czesław Mesjasz
Cracow University of Economics
ul. Rakowicka 27
Tel: +48-12-293-56-19; Fax: +48-12-293-50-67
e-mail: [log in to unmask]
For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org
For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to: www.platformforchange.org