Managing risk : a case study of a non-government organisation that provides long-term care and support services for people with mental, intellectual and physical disabilities : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Management at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
This research examines the way employees perceive risk in a non-governmental
healthcare organisation that provides care and support for people with mental,
intellectual and physical disabilities. Thirty-four respondents from all levels and
services within an NGO participated in in-depth semi-structured interviews to explore
the meaning of the concept of risk from their own viewpoints, as well as their
perspectives regarding types and sources of risk in their work and initiatives for
controlling and dealing with such types and sources. This involved discussing the role
of training in improving the awareness of employees in minimising risk, and the effect
of training on the entire risk management process. Additional information was obtained
by the researcher from documentation and personal observation.
Themes that emerged from analysing data pointed to the interrelated link between
perception and risk. Accordingly, the study found that risk is culturally constructed,
individualistic, and subjective. It was evident that risk is a perceptual matter affected by
beliefs, feelings, knowledge, culture, image, context, and the experience of people. The
culture of fear of risk and of perceiving risk as something purely negative was dominant
among the participants, who viewed risk as an unfavourable issue that does not have
opportunities, which creates another source of risk – the risk of perception of risk.
This research demonstrates that the perceptual aspect of risk emphasises the central role
of people in any risk management process. For effective risk management, all
perspectives should be considered. This requires a participatory system of managing
risk, improving the awareness of people about risk, and modifying the culture of risk
among them. Training has a significant role in the achievement of these fundamentals.