Ways of Conducting Risk Assessment

There are many ways to conduct a risk assessment. For example, companies may conduct interviews or surveys of key personnel, review key documents, conduct facilitated workshops, perform targeted reviews, or utilize any combination of these options. The following table discusses options to conduct an effective risk assessment.

Interviews Online Surveys Paper Surveys Document Review Facilitated Workshops Targeted Reviews
Description Individual stakeholder interviews to identify potential events and prioritize associated risk Online survey consisting of either a checklist of events or risks OR an open-ended request Hard copy survey consisting of either a checklist of events or risks OR an open-ended request Review of existing public documents, regulatory reviews, audit reports, special purpose studies and other materials An in-person or online workshop attended by key stakeholders Special studies or targeted analyses to evaluate questions about specific events or anticipated concerns
Advantages Interaction provides opportunity to:

“Set the stage”

Ask the appropriate follow-up questions

Probe/ understand underlying root causes

Clarify questions, if necessary

Cover sensitive topics more thoroughly

More insight and depth regarding potential future events

Can be accessed by participants without the limitations of time or geography

Can support the process with links to risk definitions and additional resources

Can be delivered efficiently at low cost (relative to interviews)

Can be administered to large groups of people

Self-documenting and reporting

Efficient, easy to administer to large numbers and geographies

Standardized scales can lead to common aggregation

Can track status

Can be completed by participant without limitations of time or geography

Can be delivered efficiently at low cost although not as cost-effective as online

Can be administered to large numbers of people

Standardized scales can lead to common aggregation

Comprehensive in scope

Fact-based

May provide basis for quantifying risk

Less time required of stakeholders during fact gathering process

Not limited to internal documents

Interaction among knowledgeable participants creates a broad picture of potential events and related business impact

Interaction stimulates discovery of previously unidentified risk areas, which can remain undetected in other formats

Structure provides for efficient use of time

Collaboration builds consensus around priority risks and their impacts

Similar to interviews, interaction provides opportunity to:

“Set the stage”

Ask the appropriate follow-up questions

Probe/ understand underlying root causes

Clarify questions, if necessary

Cover sensitive topics more thoroughly

More insight and depth regarding potential future events

Same advantages noted for document reviews

Conducted by subject matter experts

Accommodates in-depth understanding of specific potential events and related business impacts

May be applied on a macro or micro basis

Can integrate external/ internal perspectives

Can provide recommended risk responses

Issues Time sensitive

Scheduling challenges

Logistics must be managed

Interviewer must subjectively aggregate data points

Individual interviews do not directly support consensus-building

Limited follow-up

Post-survey time is required to review and understand responses

Risk of misinterpreting responses

Depth of responses may be limited

Individual responses do not gain from the perspective of others

Same issues noted for online surveys

Not considered “best practice”

Greater elapsed time to send and receive

Compared to online surveys, more time and effort to:
-Distribute

-Support

-Process

-Monitor progress

-Compile results

Higher cost to review and analyze existing material

Often not forward-looking

May not reflect current business realities

If unfocused, can waste time and money

Effectiveness is dependent of facilitator and sufficient structure

Requires advance planning

Logistically challenging to arrange participant’s time and location

Can be time-consuming due to numbers of people and need to clarify event definitions

Expectations must be clearly set

Must be carefully scoped

Often requires more time than other options

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