Anticipating and Mitigating Organizational Risks in the Digital Age

Anticipating and Mitigating Organizational Risks in the Digital Age

Every era brings with its own share of risks for organizations and other entities. While the Industrial Era was marked by risks in the form of Employee Unions, Labor Strikes, and the ever present threat of competition and environmentally damaging operations, the Services Era brought with it the risk of too much globalization leading to a Race to the Bottom as well as the peculiar and unique challenges posed by local conditions and risks.

The present Digital Age too is characterized by several risks, not the least of which is the Threat from Rapid Obsolescence due to Accelerating Technological advancements.

For instance, take the case of Apple and the iPhone and we have a situation where it has to release a new version every Six Months or so, or risk losing ground to its competitors.

This is something that applies to other Verticals as well where rapid technological changes mean that organizations have to be always alert to fast changing business trends.

Data Collection, Data Security, and Other Risks

In addition, business leaders also have to worry about how Data is the New Oil and hence, the battles in the Corporate Landscape of the 21st Century are all about Access and Control to the sources of Data.

Moreover, even if a particular organization has humungous amount of data at its disposal, it has to ensure that such data has been collected in ethical ways and has to safeguard it against Hackers and other nefarious elements who might want to lay their hands on the precious data and profit from it.

Take the case of Facebook and Google both of which collect personal data on a large basis.

As can be seen from the recent scandals concerning the controversial methods by which these entities collected user data as well as shared it with Third Party entities, it is not hard to see how in future, business leaders have to be wary about being Gung Ho Pirates who can collect personal data and consumer data at will and share the booty with others.

As for protecting the data, it is clear that leading corporates and their leaders fret and worry about where and who the next target of hacking would be.

Risks from 24/7 News Cycles and the Constant Barrage of Social Media Messages

Thus, as can be seen from the preceding discussion, the Digital Age is giving organizations and business leaders sleepless nights.

What adds to the potent mix of threats and risks is the very real threat from the 24/7 news cycle keeping them on their toes as unless they respond to the constant drumbeat of news channels upending their carefully planned strategies, they would risk Losing the Narrative.

Moreover, with the proliferation of Social Media and the constant buzz of Tweets and Facebook posts, business leaders and organizations have nowhere to run or hide as any small or big event brings with it a barrage of both praise and criticism.

As can be seen from the incessant Trolling on Twitter and Facebook, organizations need to be always on the lookout for defamatory and derogatory streams of information.

New and Old Fashioned Threats to Human Resource Management

Having said that, organizations are also at risk from plain old fashioned threats such as Attrition and a labor market that has become an employer’s nightmare.

This is especially the case in the United States where the economic boom of recent years has ensured that there are more jobs than jobseekers and consequently, organizations and their Human Resource Managers have to confront the risks from the asymmetric and the lopsided job market.

In addition, this glut of jobs has resulted in some potential candidates not turning up for work after selection and this trend known as Ghosting where employees absent themselves from work and disappear as well as do not join the organizations on the date of commencement of employment.

Moreover, there are also instances of employees stealing data and other confidential information with relatively old fashioned methods of carting away such organizational data on Pen Drives and other memory storage devices.

Man vs. Machine and Apocalyptic Scenarios

A key threat for organizations and business leaders in the Digital Age is on how to anticipate the next business trend and identify the risks and mitigate them and plan accordingly.

The use of AI or Artificial Intelligence powered technologies and software leads to both greater efficiency as well as the risk of the Machines Taking Over.

In other words, while Automation might be good for profitability, it is also a key threat since runaway AI can simply override the humans in the organization and lead to apocalyptic outcomes.

This was seen recently when a flight originating from Thailand crashed mainly because of the software overriding the Pilots commands and despite a Heroic battle between Man and Machine, the latter won with tragic consequences.

This is the reason why many leading business leaders are calling for enhanced supervision of automated operations so that the ultimate decisions are made by the humans and not the machines.

Speed and Depth of the Risks

Lastly, as mentioned in the introduction, each era has its own threats and risks.

However, what is different in the Digital Age are the Speed and the Depth of such threats coming together at the same time creating a Perfect Storm of events that can bring down the entire organization and who knows, the world itself.

With the interconnected web of people and the speed at which information flows, organizations have seen more threats than before.

To conclude, it is imperative for organizations to anticipate the risks to the best of their abilities and mitigate them as well.


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Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)

The article is Written By “Prachi Juneja” and Reviewed By Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to ManagementStudyGuide.com and the content page url.


Risk Management