SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHN325759
Module Leader Jon McNeill
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Risk
  • B (January start)

Summary of Content

The world we live in is undergoing continuous and rapid change which introduces unprecedented levels of uncertainty into the everyday functioning of business and society. As the rate of change gathers pace, evidence of fragility is becoming increasingly apparent on the public and private systems on which we rely. Old risks are evolving and new risks are emerging on our horizons. The key challenge for business and societies across the globe concerns how to can maximise the benefits of these risks and simultaneously minimise their downsides. This is by no means an easy challenge. This module will provide students with a critical understanding of the characteristics of key emerging risks in terms of their conceptual properties and the opportunities and downsides they present. Students will grapple with some of the most pressing challenges that modern risk managers across all sectors face, including cybersecurity threats, rising geopolitical tensions, environmental shift and the risk of another financial crisis erupting. Logic dictates that as risks become increasingly complex, cascading, systemic and global, so must the response. Subsequently, the content of this module will explore what this means for existing risk management frameworks, structures and processes and consider how the discipline is evolving and should evolve in tandem with the risk landscape. Students will therefore evaluate the merits of a multi-stakeholder approach to risk management. This will draw upon key risk and risk management theories, emerging trends, horizon scanning and cross disciplinary, public-private and often inter-state cooperation which underpins the shifts towards a risk governance approach to the successful mitigation of emerging risks.


The syllabus is placed in the context of emerging risk trends identified within the annual Global Risk Report published by the World Economic Forum. Emerging risk will subsequently be explored across the following well-established risk classifications; economic, environmental, societal, geopolitical and technological. The characteristics of each will be explored in the context of business and society as well as risk management as a discipline. All concepts will be underpinned by relevant risk theory and risk management frameworks as appropriate. The syllabus will be structured according to the following sections: -360 1. Introduction to the concept and characteristics of Emerging Risk 2. Emerging Societal Risks 3. Emerging Geopolitical Risks 4. Emerging Environmental Risks 5. Emerging Economic Risks 6. Emerging Technological Risks 7. Emerging forms of Risk Management and Risk Governance Frameworks

Learning Outcomes

Following successful completion of this module it is expected that students should be able to:1. Demonstrate a comprehensive and analytical understanding of emerging risks in terms of their opportunities and downsides for business and society2. Develop a working understanding of the typical nature and characteristics of emerging risks and areas of commonalities they may share3. Critically evaluate emerging risks and their implications using existing risk and/or risk management theory4. Identify the potential shortcomings in current risk management approaches and frameworks and be able to apply more contemporary forms of risk management to mitigate emerging risks

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This module is focused on the development of both theoretical and practical business skills and aims to engage students in analysis, research and discussion of contemporary, real life issues relevant to both society and business at local and global levels. The dominant form of delivery is face-to-face contact. This 20 credit module requires3 hours of class contact per week: a 2 hour lecture and 1 hour seminar. Lectures will highlight key issues and signpost relevant journal articles and other appropriate literature. Students are expected to prepare for lectures by undertaking relevant reading and preparing responses to questions. Lectures will adopt a variety of teaching styles including seminar style contributions such as group discussion to enhance intellectual, critical and analytical skills. In the case of more applied topics, students will attempt relevant problem or scenario based questions prior to lectures prior to discussion in class. This will provide the basis for developing professional skills, knowledge and understanding. Seminars are conducted in workshop format providing a mix of tutor led, student led and group learning. Lecture materials and additional reading will be available online through GCU Learn the central repository with which students can access all essential learning material. Also through GCU Learn, students will have the opportunity to engage with each other and discuss the weekly lecture topics online through a combination of Padlet, Wiki's and blogs as appropriate. Formative and summative feedback via. a variety of mechanisms and will be issued within 3 working weeks of submission.

Indicative Reading

Textbooks Due to the pace of change and the cutting edge nature of this module no core textbook will perfectly reflect the current risk and risk management landscape. The following textbooks are recommended to help students understand the core concepts within this module. Aven, T., & Renn, O. (2010). Risk Management and Governance Concepts, Guidelines and Applications. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. Renn, O. (2008). Risk governance?: coping with uncertainty in a complex world. London?;: Earthscan. Lidskog, R. (2013). Transboundary risk governance. Routledge. Journals Journal of Risk and Uncertainty Risk Analysis: An International Journal Journal of Risk Research Journal of Risk Reports WEF Global Risk Report - <>

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key transferrable areas: Critical thinking and problem solving Applied research and analytical skills through demonstrable ability to research, analyse, report findings and make recommendations Clear communication, in both written and verbal form Independent motivation stemming from the ability to prioritise tasks Time management and meeting deadlines

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 99.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Independent Learning (FT) 35.00
Assessment (FT) 30.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 100.00 40% Individual case study of an emerging risk. Week 12 Trimester B