Social Media Risk Research Programme

June 1st 2017

Social Media Risk Research Programme

Over the past three years we have been conducting research in the area of social media risk and risk governance. The work is organised into three inter-related phases:

  1. Social media risk classification, our initial studies examined the risks arising from the business and professional uses of social media and developed a framework for describing and categorizing social media business risks. The work is based on an extensive review of the academic and practitioner literatures. Our goal was to identify the range of risks arising from the use of social media in organisations and to identify risk categories. The resulting classification along with examples of how these risks manifest themselves in organisations have been published in: Williams and Hausmann 2017. The first phase of our work also identified a number of additional dimensions and issues for social media risk management, including

    • Evolutionary nature of risks. New risks are still emerging and the ways risk manifest themselves continue to change, this requires ongoing risk analysis and assessment.
    • Risk chains. Our analysis identified that many of the risks we identified are interrelated. One risk may often the catalyst for, or consequence of, another risk. Our subsequent work is directed towards understanding these risk chains and the ways that risks are related.
    • Risk appetite. Our analysis revealed that some organizations have a higher appetite for social media risk than others. Risk appetite has not been addressed in the social media risk literature and is a topic being addressed in Phases 2 and 3 of our work.
    • Risk assessment and governance processes. Whilst the first phase of our work has provided a detailed understanding of social media risks and it has paid little attention to how these risks will be managed and incorporated in to organisations’ wider enterprise risk management strategies.

  2. Social media risk analysis. Building on our findings from Phase 1; Phase 2 focuses on risk profiling and investigating how risks change and are being shaped over time. Our work on social media governance has begun with a study to identify perceptions and practices around social media risk and risk governance from the perspective of executive board members.

  3. Framework development. Phase 3 brings the findings from Phases 1 and 2 together and drawing from theories of intersectionality, social amplification of risk and anticipatory governance our objective is to provide an interdisciplinary view of social media risk and risk governance.

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