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The University of Southampton

UOSM2011 The Management of Risk and Uncertainty

Module Overview

The module offers an introduction to managing risk and uncertainty to students from all across the University. No matter what their intended future career, the professionalisation of risk management in all types of business and organisation ensures that the academic insight provided will be valued by employers and will give the student a real edge. Although the module material is mainly qualitative in nature, students with both qualitative and quantitative skillsets wishing to learn how to apply these within risk management contexts will find the module valuable.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • risk management;
  • uncertainty management;
  • how risk and uncertainty management relate to broader organisational contexts of internal control, corporate governance, decision making and culture.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse risk and uncertainty from a range of theoretical perspectives;
  • manage risk and uncertainty using various techniques;
  • apply generic principles to a range of application contexts;
  • critically analyse current practice;
  • discuss possible improvements to current practice.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Communicate ideas effectively in consultancy report format;
  • Analyse complex real world problems;
  • Apply theory and evidence to create impact within organisations;
  • Propose practical solutions to complex real world problems.


The lectures will cover: Historical context for risk management (e.g. longstanding insurance principles and practices, probabilistic and frequentist reasoning, historical use of risk registers). Theories and practices relating risk management to uncertainty management (e.g. use of decision theory, techniques for estimating and resolving uncertainties, inclusion of opportunity management within risk management). Internal integration challenges facing risk management practices (e.g. traditional ‘risk-listing’, enterprise risk management, risk-based internal control, resilience, business continuity, crisis management). External integration challenges linking risk management to various other organisational practices (e.g. project management, performance management, knowledge management, internal audit, marketing, competitive intelligence, corporate governance, management-by-objectives). Risk management theory and practice informed by closely related risk psychology, risk culture and risk communication research (e.g. implications of psychological theories of risk cognition, risk framing, risk heuristics and risk-taking for various risk-related behaviours in organisations). Common flaws in risk management practice (e.g. biases in risk perception and forecasting, problems with risk registers).

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The taught lectures will raise risk and uncertainty management issues which students, working in small groups in the weekly classes, will draw upon to support one another as they develop their individual consultancy reports. The groups will be formed on the basis of commonalities pertaining either to particular business sectors or to particular risk problems which challenge multiple business sectors, . In the classes, the lecturer will first of all help the students form groups by establishing common topic areas. Each group will thereafter work on its own common topic area. Using techniques such as sharing mutually relevant research tasks, and peer review of draft work, they will assist one another in the development of their individual consultancy reports. The lecturer will guide the students by clarifying both the nature and limitations of the support they can give one another. Emphasis will be placed on ensuring the draft reports are peer reviewed to ensure they contain practical consultancy recommendations, and successfully apply knowledge from the lectures. Each individual consultancy report will pertain to some (usually organisational) exposure to risk and uncertainty, where current practice can be explored and improvements can be proposed. In practical terms, this might involve: • scrutinising how some specified organisation deals with its risk environment; • scrutinising some expert guidance or regulation; • scrutinising lay risk perceptions/behaviours; • scrutinising how risk and uncertainty are handled within some academic or scientific endeavour. Students will be expected to individualise their consultancy reports by ensuring that no two reports deal with the same subject matter.

Preparation for scheduled sessions30
Follow-up work30
Completion of assessment task60
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Centre for Risk Research (2016). Directing risk management in organizations. Guidance from the Centre for Risk Research. Downloadable from:

A. Marshall (2016) Why Risk Cultures Need Prudence. A discussion paper from the Centre for Risk Research. Downloadable from

S. Ward (2005). Risk Management: organisation and context. 

A, Marshall (2017) Risk Intelligence: a Centre for Risk Research discussion document. Downloadable from



MethodPercentage contribution
Consultancy Report  (3000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Consultancy Report  (3000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Consultancy Report  (3000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase reading texts as appropriate.


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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