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Mary Douglas, Aaron Wildavsky
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NRFSN number: 15864
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Perceptions of risk and danger are largely based on what society and organizations choose to value and what they choose to fear. Often, these values are shaped by larger organizational and political interests that bias perceptions of risk, danger, and responses that reinforce the values they match. Scientific disagreement on what constitutes acceptable human risk when dealing with issues of human health, technology, and the environment support the idea that risk and risk aversion are based on collective social values and are only selective representations of danger. Managers who trust completely in society or the organization to define what is safe and what is risky may not see actual dangers until it is too late.


Douglas, Mary, Wildavsky, Aaron. 1982. Risk and culture: an essay on the selection of technological and environmental dangers. Los Angeles: University of California Press. 224 p.

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