The inability to engage with systems risk during the development of integrated socio-technical systems presents a real threat to global and local socio-economic stability. Current theories on system risk engagement are driven by a functionalist orthodoxy. Accordingly, risk management is either non-existent, done in parallel to other development activity, or used by organisations as an instrument of control. Systems risk management needs to be addressed at the source of the problem: the systems engineering process. This paper addresses the predominant failure to appropriately engage with systems risk during development. It provides, with respect to the theoretical dimensions, a diversity of risk perspectives, complexity and socio-technical systems theory. A broad literature review on different risk concepts, risk management perspectives and organisational paradigms (functionalist, interpretive, radical humanist and radical structuralist) is also presented. In order to overcome a lack of a holistic and reflective risk management approach to systems development, this paper sketches an integrated soft systems methodology approach which can be used for engaging with systems risk during systems development.
- Information systems paradigms
- Systems development
- Systems risk