Organised Uncertainty: A book review Essay

In 2007, a well-known and cherished Professor of Accounting Research, Michael Power published his extremely credited book – Organized Uncertainty: Planing a universe of Risk Management. Ultimately, it has been argued that this book is an extension of Power’s old book ‘the Audit Society’ which exemplifies his position of Audit, with mention to the ‘audit explosion’ ; showing the importance of audit within administrations transforming into a tool for direction. Additionally, his reading of the significance of Audit goes beyond this initial understanding measuring its ability to supply administrations with the mechanics to take hazards which seem unmanageable in order to decrease them well. Donald MacKenzie, Professor of Sociology at the University of Edinburgh has hence declared that, “Power’s The Audit Society influentially challenged the concerns and fetishes of the 1990s…His all right new book will likewise provoke intense argument on how the societies of the new century conceive and manage risk” . Therefore, it is clear that his latter book develops Power’s initial suggestions of Auditing and its prominence, showing a more developed penetration into the universe of hazard direction. Having conveyed a really powerful reading of hazard throughout this book, Power presents his work with the extra purpose of determining the argument environing the possibility of systematising uncertainness wholly. Professor John Meyer hence besides praises Power’s work saying that his reading of “the rise of the hazard direction motion is striking and impressive” it has besides been referred to as “…iconoclastic and illuminating” . I therefore was enticed by the chance of reading this book and showing my ain review ; which I aim to show within this essay.

Overall, Power presents a powerful message within this book structuring it around four chief subjects. These subjects include: the tensenesss that have emerged environing hazard direction and uncertainness ; an analysis of the promotions made in the systems of profession ; application of neo-liberal constructs of persons to administrations and their behavior through probe of the difference environing risk-enhancing techniques and risk-minimising actions ; and the transforming impact hazard direction has had on administrations and their being within the universe. Providing to these four subjects represents the cardinal message that hazard direction has been capable of argument taking to important promotions ; whereby it has finally became a important factor to runing successful administrations. Power indicates the intension with this promotion and the remotion of the traditional exposures coupled with hazard ; admiting that hazard is a important constituent of answerability and genuineness hence bespeaking that hazard direction is risk control. Power is thereby vexing hazard direction and its’ ability to organize uncertainness, showing distinguishable treatment of the betterments administrations are required to do with their hazard direction ; implementing more simplistic procedures through self-denial.

The book contains several animating facts and quotation marks which I have collated into a little group to stand for my ‘favourite’ . The precious facts in my sentiment refer to the association between hazard and uncertainness: “uncertainties must be organised as hazards to be managed and administrations must exhibit conformance to rational hazard direction principles” ( p.196 ) ; bespeaking that uncertainness must be transformed as hazard and managed through hazard direction. Power can to boot be quoted as stating, “Risk direction adds value and makes concern sense” ( p.157 ) ; this dramatic remark portrays the existent importance environing hazard direction, foregrounding that this can heighten concern public presentation ; conveying the existent strength behind it. Additionally, Power explores risk direction techniques, declaring that, “…the functionality or effectivity of hazard direction is something which is non static” ( p.158 ) . As a heatedly debated subject, Power’s remark here is peculiarly inspirational as he is admiting the built-in challenges administrations face during the executing of hazard direction as it is non a consistent procedure and concludes that ; “Risk direction systems are ne’er perfect” ( p.167 ) . Steming from this, he besides strongly denotes that audit has a peculiarly important function to play within administrations saying that, “auditability and direction are closely intertwined” ( p.166 ) . Here Power is associating audit and direction foregrounding their similarities through their execution of logical way. Therefore, the strength behind Power’s statement of: “Organisations have been turned ‘inside-out’ and in the procedure a new sort of histrion has been created which must self-consciously orchestrate its dealingss with other organisations” ( p.193 ) is clear. I would hence mention to these quotation marks and facts as the best from the book, whereby they efficaciously constitute the chief message being portrayed, reasoning that “organisations must now believe inside out” ( p.134 ) when shiping on this delicate procedure of hazard direction and implementing the relevant processs to finally organise uncertainness.

As highlighted through the above treatment, Power expresses outstanding cognition of the bing transmutation inherent within the hazard direction procedure. Therefore, through reading this iconic novel, my apprehension of uncertainness and hazard has widened. Most significantly I have learned about the reallocation of hazard from analysis to administration and internal control systems co-operation with the internal hearers, efficaciously turning administrations inside out ; which have become important elements to an administrations success. Furthermore, I have ascertained the promotion of ‘operational risk’ and ‘reputation risk’ direction ; admiting that reputational hazards hold a important weighting in the hazard direction procedure as they are now ‘measurable, seeable and auditable’ and deemed as an ‘intangible asset’ . Through this book I besides discovered that hazard direction is about judicial proceeding whereby it finally represents an augmentation of audit ; leting administrations to show their capableness of commanding their hazards. This book has given me a true penetration into the universe of hazard and the duty administrations must take throughout their hazard direction procedure providing to neo-liberalisation. The trouble in accomplishing perfect hazard direction nevertheless, is besides reflected, whereby I have learned that seeking for flawlessness in the hazard direction procedure has negative impacts as Power indicates that we can non wholly organise all uncertainnesss we face.

However, non everything within this book should be taken at face value. For illustration, Power’s ( 2009 ) later article ‘The Risk Management of Nothing’ contradicts his 2007 book. This article was published in the aftermath of the fiscal crisis ; holding the hazard direction of everything to be irrelevant whereby his findings indicate that the opposite is true and this hazard direction has efficaciously been the hazard direction of nil ( Power, 2009 ) . Therefore, it can be drawn that Power’s initial proposition of endeavor hazard direction is illusive and is non as strong a solution as ab initio portrayed ; “ERM may be more symptom of where we have been instead than the remedy for the future” ( Power, 2009 ) . Personally, I besides disagree with Power’s premise that the ability of hazard civilization mechanics are limited, whereby they are merely utile when it is at the Centre of managerial and regulative attending and are unable to be used as point of mention within administration marks. I believe that in order to truly engage in entire hazard direction, administrations must change their built-in civilization to reflect their hazard appetency in add-on to providing to put on the line civilization through direction and ordinance.

Not merely does Power show cognition to the reader of the displacement from hazard analysis to put on the line administration but this novel besides indicates that there are specific demands professions should take in response to this alteration. Reflecting upon this it is clear that in order to efficaciously react to the altering hazard docket, comptrollers should by and large endeavor to aline hazard with duty in order to convey the authorization of hazard. Hazard has finally advanced from something to avoid, transforming into portion of a successful operation whereby it has become relevant to strike a balance between those good hazards and general hazard direction. Audited account processs must hence develop to reflect the built-in hazard civilization within administrations and it should no longer concern the decrease of hazards but instead assess the organisation’s hazard civilization and construction the audit around the effectivity of their hazard direction techniques.

Having acknowledged the important part that Power has had within this book to the accounting industry ; my apprehension of accounting has accordingly transformed – specifically reflecting on the relationship in being between hazard direction and audit. My cognition of what accounting is and what it can make has developed through acknowledgment that accounting is a important constituent to administrations in several different formations. I have discovered that hazard direction represents an extra constituent of audit civilization whereby Power has encouraged me to believe of accounting non as a purposeful field but as a cardinal subscriber to defining what administrations are. This inside informations accounting as a beginning of depicting the boundaries of an administration and where they lie ; sketching the exact actions administrations should take.

In decision, I have found this book genuinely inspiring and powerful through the distinguishable reading Power makes of hazard and uncertainness co-occuring with accounting. Overall this book has demonstrated the existent importance of understanding hazards in order to accomplish the desired hazard direction – something which we all engage in on a day-to-day footing ; denoting the important part of this book to today’s society. Additionally, this book presented what I believe to be a compelling statement environing the relationship between hazard and answerability ; before reading this book my cognition of this was limited. Overall, I believe it exemplifies the importance of hazard direction and accounting ; giving clear account of the promotions which have been made meaning how to react to them.


Power, M.K. ( 2007 ) . Organised Uncertainty: Planing a World of Risk Management. London: Oxford UP

Power, M.K. ( 2009 ) . The Risk Management of Nothing.Accounting, Organizations and Society, 34 ( 6/7 ) , 849-855.