The risk university: Risk identification at higher education institutions in England.
CARR Discussion Papers,
Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.
In 2000, the Higher Education Funding Council of England required all universities to implement risk management as a governance tool since it expected an increase in efficiency in decision making. While the regulatory regime has been described in literature, the response of universities remained greatly unknown. This paper outlines a first attempt to investigate the identification strategies of academic risks. Based on a limited set of risk registers developed by universities covering the entire range of English universities, this discussion paper presents three major findings. Firstly, universities could not capture the core functions of universities, teaching and research, with organisational means. Secondly, universities had to find proxies that they could link up with organisational decisions. In this context, the emerging concept of reputational risk provides an all-purpose tool for risk management allowing universities to capture all possible challenges and problems in terms of risk. Thirdly, when universities identify academic risks, structural features such size, international and research orientation or the degree of collegiality in decision making shape the way academic risks are defined. These initial findings could direct further research that seems essential for better understanding of academic risk management and its effect on universities.
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