Systemic risk assessment: a case study

F. Ackermann, C. Eden, T.M. Williams, S.M. Howick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Project Risk Registers have been used extensively for many years. However, they do not account for the interaction between risks, for example, the occurrence of one risk exacerbating other risks or portfolios of risks being more significant than the sum of the individual risks. This leads to the need to consider 'risk systemicity' as a part of risk analysis. This paper reports on a specific case for a large multinational project based organization, one that the authors had been involved with in the analysis of a number of projects that had massive cost overruns. Following these analyses the organization was persuaded of the importance of risk systemicity. The organization therefore engaged the authors to develop a 'Risk Filter'. This filter is a tool for identifying areas of risk exposure on future projects and creating a framework for their investigation. The 'Risk Filter' is now used on all projects ever since its introduction; by the end of May 2003 it had been used by nine divisions, on over 60 major projects, and completed by 450 respondents. It is also used at several stages during the life of a project to aid in the risk assessment and management of each project, and contributes to a project database.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-51
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Operational Research Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • causal mapping
  • project risk
  • risk management
  • management theory


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