In his 1962 work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn defined paradigm as a set of concepts constituting the foundations of a field of science. He presents revolutions as shifts in the existing paradigms and the phrase, paradigm shift, has since entered the language of science and business. Risk is a concern in both fields and this chapter considers the paradigms of risk, and whether they require a shift. Although we avoid negative experiences, often interpreted as resulting from hazards, no common risk management methodology exists. This statement may strike as untrue: after all, safety is a vast field; we analyse hazards and manage risk. Yet is it not a delusion, and is risk management not an attempt to charm reality? Don’t hazards, risk and danger depend on our perception? Perhaps risk can be viewed through the lens of quantum mechanics, existing in a limbo of potential until our actions and interpretations force events and circumstances to assume a danger state. If so, would managing this potential prior to the wave function collapse-inducing observation make any sense? In this chapter we will use the theory of inertia to attempt an answer to the question: is risk management possible?
Part of the book: Perspectives on Risk, Assessment and Management Paradigms
We cannot transcend our world, our history and time to see ourselves from a broad enough perspective, and so our reasoning is limited by our being in the world. It is easy to draw conclusions a posteriori, analyse historical events and assume that our ancestors were, or should have been, aware of connections which we observe in hindsight. We also find it easy to interpret current affairs, label them and draw conclusions about their future development in accordance with the current theories and our zeitgeist. We are wrong to do so in both situations. Human perception is subject to the laws of inertia. Without realising inertia’s immense influence, we will create models of the world which are distant from reality and short-lived. Players in (what appears to be) the information economy want us to believe that endless progress is possible. States and economic agencies behave as if this were given and no other possibility should be worth serious consideration. Every business and every country present prognoses showing ever-increasing indicators. We want everything to grow: the GDP, our profit margins and sales. Human population continues to grow as well, globally, but is progress the indicator of human population? Is development our destiny?
Part of the book: Sustainable Management Practices
Risk assessment is the result of assumptions of people performing it. Therefore, its use may be limited, because in principle it is difficult to predict events that we are not aware of. A certain solution to this problem seems to be the application of inception theory and quantum physics assumptions to describe future phenomena. The aim of the study will be to demonstrate the experience of risk assessment attempts using quantum physics assumptions. The current application of new assumptions for risk assessment in the case of road infrastructure allows for the thesis that a change in the approach to risk assessment is necessary in all areas related to human activity.
Part of the book: Risk Management and Assessment