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Beyond Bad Apples
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Book description

The one bad apple spoiling the whole barrel has become a common metaphor used with reference to risk culture in organisations. This “inside-out” perspective begins with the individual as the unit of analysis and follows with inferences to the broader environment. Since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008, risk culture for many has become the explanation for shortcomings, poor decisions, and moral failures in organisations. This volume presents an institutional perspective of the forces that shape risk culture, and culture more generally, in organisations through a multi-disciplinary examination from a variety of leading academics and subject specialists. The authors demonstrate that firms play a role as manufacturers and managers of risk and they challenge common conceptions that attribute risk to chance circumstances or rogue behaviours. The foundational concepts needed for an institutional view of risk culture are highlighted with subsequent links to significant developments within society and firms.


‘Culture is contagious, within and across organisations. The global financial crisis provides no better illustration of that cultural contagion and its adverse consequences for individual firms and society at large. That makes understanding culture, its origins and propagation, crucial if we are to keep organisations and our economic and financial systems at a safe distance from cultural cliff-edges. This volume, by international renowned experts in the field, is a valuable contribution to improving both our understanding of organisational culture and the policies needed to avoid a future crashing of cultures.’

Andrew Haldane - Chief Economist, Bank of England

‘As we enter the third decade of the twenty-first century, this is a timely spotlight on the role risk culture has to play as businesses face unprecedented challenges to their operating models. It places the issues in a robustly argued context, with the occasional welcome dose of academic scepticism, providing Boards, the C-Suite and an organisation’s risk practitioners with thoughtful perspectives on how to challenge current thinking.’

Clare Williams - Global Head of Reputation Management, Barclays

‘Beyond Bad Apples: Risk Culture in Business provides a much-needed institutional view to a topic that is the lifeblood of organisations and has come to the forefront since the Global Financial Crisis crises. Each of the subject authors brings a unique lens through which the culture discussion is viewed, and provides insightful context for organisations when considering their own risk cultures.’

Alan Smith - Global Head of Risk Strategy and Senior Executive Officer of Group Risk, Global Risk, HSBC plc

‘A strong risk culture is a cornerstone of effective risk management and a competitive advantage for financial and non-financial firms alike. This book is a welcome addition to the literature on risk culture as it addresses the topic in a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary fashion.’

Alessandra Mongiardino - Managing Director of Group Financial and Strategic Risks, RBS

‘Often highlighted as a panacea for firms, but seldom explored and taken forward with the required energy and rigour, 'risk culture' has acquired a new urgency due to the complex uncertainties and emerging threats within today’s business environment. Not only does this book from Cambridge intimate an elastic, multi-faceted approach that is responsive to the exigencies of our times, it also sets out a challenge to others regarding interesting angles the team hasn’t had time to delve into.’

Richard Smith-Bingham - Director, Marsh & McLennan Insights

‘Getting culture right is critical. But there isn’t a set of rules to follow as it’s fundamentally unique to each organisation. The wide-ranging perspectives and insights from multi-disciplinary experts and thought leaders will be welcomed by firms tackling this complex challenge.’

Stacey English - former Head of Regulatory Intelligence, Thomson Reuters

‘This book presents excellent insight and analysis into the rationales and needs for any organization to develop a positive risk culture. And it succinctly explains and addresses the complexities associated with evolving marketplaces, and the need for corporations, individuals and regulatory initiatives to plainly respond, while pointing out the clear benefits derived from building a positive risk culture.’

Rich Apostolik - President and Chief Executive Officer, Global Association of Risk Professionals

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