Alex Day: Fellow 2015

Risk Types and Attitudes amongst Leaders in Sixth Form Colleges – A case study

The effective management of any organisation requires good decision making. For leaders, risk and uncertainty play a role in almost every decision made. There is considerable documentation regarding risk management and the processes attached to it. However, risk behaviour and its component parts, risk type and risk attitude have yet to be explored in the educational setting. A better understanding of the concept of risk and how to manage risk attitudes should, in theory, help leaders make better decisions. This research explores the attitude to risk of sixth form college leaders, exploring three key research questions: What are the risk behaviours of leaders in sixth form colleges? What are the barriers to risk taking and, What interventions might help planning and risk calculation when considering risky projects? The views of leaders were investigated through responses to the risk type compass survey and a series of interview questions. Whilst few concrete conclusions could be drawn about typical risk types of college leaders, the research attempts to clarify terminology surrounding the concept of risk, distinguishes between risk type and risk attitude, identifies a series of tools which could be utilised to manage attitudes to risk and makes recommendations about the adoption of risk management processes which incorporate opportunities as well as threats.

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