Risk Culture: A View from the Board

Louise Redmond

This chapter examines the role of the board in creating the culture needed by organisations for sustainable success. The board’s role in risk management is the starting point for this exploration, with boards from organisations across a wide range of sectors and public services being reviewed. The chapter will also look at corporate culture in the context of risk, and what the board can do both to shape the appropriate risk culture and to assure itself that major policies and processes are working to deliver the desired culture.

The cultural challenges for the board itself are then reviewed, since the board is the ultimate role model for the whole organisation. Boards, as for any organisation or group, are subject to their own challenges in creating the right culture. Many organisational failures have been traced back to ineffectiveness at board level, particularly with their ability to set the right culture. Examples commonly discussed include the UK National Health Service (NHS), where a few extreme failures (such as at Mid Staffordshire Hospital) highlighted widespread weaknesses in the culture, and where caring for patients became sidelined. Other examples of board weaknesses

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