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2021/2022  KAN-CCMVI2111U  Strategic Risk Leadership – Engaging a World of Risk, Uncertainty, and the Unknown

English Title
Strategic Risk Leadership – Engaging a World of Risk, Uncertainty, and the Unknown

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration Summer
Start time of the course Summer
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 60
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Torben Juul Andersen - Department of International Economics, Goverment and Business (EGB)
For academic questions related to the course, please contact course responsible Torben Juul Andersen (tja.egb@cbs.dk).
Main academic disciplines
  • Globalisation and international business
  • Management
  • Strategy
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 01/12/2021

Relevant links

Learning objectives
Upon completion of the course the student should be able to:
  • describe potential exposures that circumscribe an international organization
  • identify major risks that may affect the attainment of objectives and outcomes
  • adopt basic risk management approaches to assess and monitor major exposures
  • outline the evolution of the contemporary enterprise risk management frameworks
  • analyze alternative approaches to deal with economic, operational, and strategic risks
  • distinguish between potential consequences of risk, uncertainty, and unknown factors
  • conceive of the evolving risk landscape as a dynamic complex system in constant flux
  • consider the governance of risk management processes in an international organization
  • assess the management/leadership performance of modern risk management approaches
  • determine accepted principles of professional risk management and leadership conduct
  • understand the role of behaviors, ethics, and values in responsible business practices
  • discern different leadership approaches to deal with abrupt and disruptive contexts
Course prerequisites
A completed BSc. degree with knowledge about relevant concepts from management, strategy, finance, and organization studies.
Strategic Risk Leadership - Engaging a World of Risk, Uncertainty, and the Unknown:
Exam ECTS 7.5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Project
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer, Exam schedules available on https:/​/​www.cbs.dk/​uddannelse/​international-summer-university-programme-isup/​courses-and-exams
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Make-up exams/re-exams: Individual assignment - written product
1st retake exam: 72-hour home project assignment, max. 10 pages, new exam question
2nd retake exam: 72-hour home project assignment, max. 10 pages, new exam question
Exam schedules available on https:/​/​www.cbs.dk/​uddannelse/​international-summer-university-programme-isup/​courses-and-exams
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

The global business environment is influenced by many emergent risk factors that can lead to unpredictable (often) extreme events, e.g., financial crisis, political conflicts, competitive disruption, natural disasters, pandemics, etc. This introduces new potentially dramatic threats or challenges but at the same time offers opportunities to be explored and exploited. These conditions present wicked problems without simple solutions and are typically associated with high-level leadership issues that can foster operational responses. A common policy response to higher levels of risk and uncertainty is to adopt control-based practices in an attempt to contain the impact of observed exposures. While this approach has advantages, it falls short in complex contexts engulfed in uncertain and unknown conditions. It requires other approaches that demand specific leadership attention. Hence, the course seeks to advance critical thinking around modern risk management practices, illustrated by various case examples, discussing how leaders can deal with the complexity of contemporary risk landscapes.

This challenge goes beyond monitoring, controlling and hedging risks. Effective risk management should also consider prudent ways to explore business opportunities in pro-active risk-taking and prepare for potential crises. There is a need to consider responsible behaviors with broader stakeholder and societal concerns as prudent means to circumvent detrimental future liabilities and dealing effectively with crisis situations. This will consider the role of core values and ethical leadership behaviors in pursuit of good risk governance.

The course provides a general overview of different economic, operational, and strategic exposures faced by international organizations with activities across multiple nations and considers how related risk events can be handled and managed. Strategic risk management assumes different functional perspectives, e.g., financial markets, operations, accounting, management controls, strategy-making, governance, human behavior, cognition, and ethics. The formal risk management frameworks attempt to address identifiable risks but this approach is extended to consider that can deal with (true or radical) uncertainty and an unknown future.

The course attempts to advance critical thinking on enterprise risk management in open class discussions and group exercises analyzing (often well-known) organizations that demonstrate shortcomings and challenges from real cases applying a rich source material. It outlines modern risk management and considers how leaders can deal (more) effectively with contemporary environments. The shortcomings of current practices are addressed with an intent to develop effective approaches to deal with risks we face today.


Preliminary assignment:  This is intended to help students prepared for ISUP and extract maximum value from the course. A video and some pre-assigned readings are expected to be viewed and read before the course begins. During the first class, each student will be asked to respond to basic questions related to this preliminary material and will shape an introductory discussion about the ensuing course activities. This assignment is intended to help 'jump-start' the learning process while preparing for the first class session.


Class 1: An overview of (strategic) risk management
Class 2: A changing risk landscape and policy responses
Class 3: Formal principles of risk management and governance
Class 4: Moving from risk management to risk leadership
Class 5: Leadership performance of enterprise risk management
Class 6: Managing/leading in uncertain complex environments


Midterm: Submission of project proposal and preliminary outline.


Class 7: The moral dimensions of strategic risk management
Class 8: A social science perspective of strategic risk management
Class 9: Collaborative approaches to strategic risk management
Class 10: Developing the case for strategic risk leadership
Class 11: Course overview, learnings, and implications


Description of the teaching methods
The class sessions attempt to combine lectures with open discussions and active student involvement garnered with in-class group activities. Every class session expects students to be familiar with assigned readings for more fruitful class discussions. Students are expected to work diligently to prepare for class sessions and engage with insights that can benefit the collective learning of the entire class. At the end of the course, students are required to complete an individual written exam report, which provides an opportunity to apply material studied during the course to deal with a self-chosen topic of particular interest. The exam report will be subjected to internal grading that considers the clarity, structure and supportive evidence displayed in the submitted report with respect to the listed learning objectives and course content.
Feedback during the teaching period
Students must submit a project formulation (max 1 page) outlining the intended topic for the project study with a preliminary outline. Each student will receive personal feedback to frame the topic, plan the research process, and support the project execution. The midterm feedback offers a preliminary assessment of the project in terms of relevance, structure, methodology, collection and analysis of data, and eventual writing of a good final report.

The exam project can address an identified research question, a relevant business/societal issue, or a case analysis identified, chosen, and outlined by the individual student based on her/his specific interests. The project formulation will be submitted directly to the instructor during midterms around the 3rd week of teaching.
Student workload
Preliminary assignment 20 hours 20 hours
Classroom attendance 33 hours
Preparation 126 hours
Feedback activity 7 hours
Examination 20 hours
Further Information

Ordinary 6 weeks course


Preliminary Assignment: The course coordinator uploads Preliminary Assignment on Canvas at the end of May. It is expected that students participate as it will be included in the final exam, but the assignment is without independent assessment&grading.”


“ourse and exam timetable is/will be available on https://www.cbs.dk/en/study/international-summer-university/courses-and-exams


We reserve the right to cancel the course if we do not get enough applications. This will be communicated on https://www.cbs.dk/en/study/international-summer-university/courses-and-exams in start March.


Expected literature

Mandatory readings:


Torben J. Andersen and Peter C. Young (2022). Strategic Risk Leadership: Context and Cases, Routledge [ISBN 9780367709389] https:/​/​www.routledge.com/​Strategic-Risk-Leadership-Context-and-Cases/​Andersen-Young/​p/​book/​9780367709389


Book chapters

*Andersen, T. J. and Young, P. C. 2020. ‘The story of risk management’, Chapter 2 in Strategic Risk Leadership: Engaging in a World of Risk, Uncertainty, and the Unknown. Routledge, London, UK, pp. 23-51.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.4324/​9781003006220

Andersen, T. J., Garvey, M. and Roggi, O. 2014. ‘Risk, risk management, and risk governance’, Chapter 1 in Managing Risk and Opportunity, Oxford University Press, pp. 5-34.
[uploaded on Canvas]

Andersen, T. J., Garvey, M. and Roggi, O. 2014. ‘Value creation through risk management’, Chapter 4 in Managing Risk and Opportunity, Oxford University Press, pp. 101-131.  [uploaded on Canvas]

Mitroff I. I. and Silvers, A. 2010. ‘Screwing up royally - An introduction to errors of the third and fourth kind’, Chapter 1 in Dirty Rotten Strategies: How We Trick Ourselves and Others Into Solving the Wrong Problems Precisely, Stanford Business Books, pp. 1-28. [uploaded on Canvas]

Weick, K. E. and Sutcliffe, K. M. 2001. ‘What Business can Learn from High Reliability Organizations’, Chapter 1 in Managing the Unexpected: assuring high performance in an age of complexity, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, pp. 1-23. 
[uploaded on Canvas]



Andersen, T. J. 2017. Corporate responsible behavior in multinational enterprise. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 25(3), 1-21. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1108/​IJOA-12-2016-1098

Ardichvili, A., Mitchell, J. and Jondle, D. 2009. Characteristics of ethical business cultures. Journal of Business Ethics, 85, 445-451.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1007/​s10551-008-9782-4

Bundy, J., Pfarrer, M. D., Short, C. E. and Coombs, W. T. 2017. Crises and crisis management: Integration, interpretation, and research development. Journal of Management, 43(6), 1661–1692. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1177/​0149206316680030

Finkelstein, S., Whitehead, J. and Campbell, A. 2009. Think again: Why good leaders make bad decisions. Business Strategy Review, 20(2), 62-66. http:/​/​dx.doi.org/​10.1111/​j.1467-8616.2009.00601.x

Husted, B. W. 2005. Risk management, real options, and corporate social responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 60, 175-183. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1007/​s10551-005-3777-1

Jacquart, P. and Antonakis, J. (2015). When does charisma matter for top-level leaders? Effect of attributional ambiguity. Academy of Management Journal, 58(4), 1051-1074.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.5465/​amj.2012.0831

Manuj, I. and Mentzer, J. T. 2008. Global supply chain risk management strategies. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 38(3), 192-223. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1002/​j.2158-1592.2008.tb00072.x

*Miller, K. D., 1992. A framework for integrated risk management in international business. Journal of International Business, 23(2), 311-331.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1057/​palgrave.jibs.8490270

*Nocco, B. and Stulz, R. 2006. Enterprise risk management: Theory and practice. Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, 18, 8-20.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1111/​j.1745-6622.2006.00106.x

Owen, D. and Davidson, J. 2009. Hubris syndrome: An acquired personality disorder? A study of US Presidents and UK Prime Ministers over the last 100 years. Brain, 132(5), 1396-1406.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1093/​brain/​awp008

Paape, L. and Speklé, R.F. 2012. The adoption and design of enterprise risk management practices: An empirical study. European Accounting Review. 21(3), 533-564.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1080/​09638180.2012.661937

Pernell, K., Jung, J. and Dobbin, F. 2017. The hazards of expert control: Chief risk officers and risky derivatives. American Sociological Review, 82(3), 511-541.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1177/​0003122417701115

Petersen, B., Benito, G. R. G. and Welch, L. S. 2021. Foreign operation mode flexibility: tradeoffs and managerial responses. International Journal of the Economics of Business, 28(2), 281–307.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1080/​13571516.2021.1889917

Power, M. 2009. The risk management of nothing. Accounting, Organization and Society, 34(6-7), 849-855.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1016/​j.aos.2009.06.001

Sandin, P. (2009). Approaches to ethics for corporate crisis management. Journal of Business Ethics, 87, 109-116.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1007/​s10551-008-9873-2

Schmidt, W. and Simchi-Levi, D. 2013. Nissan Motor Company Ltd.: Building operational resiliency. MIT Sloan Management Review, 13-149. https:/​/​mitsloan.mit.edu/​LearningEdge/​CaseDocs/​13-149%20Nissan.Simchi-Levi.pdf

Schoemaker, P. J. H. and Day, G. S. 2009. How to make sense of weak signals. MIT Sloan Management Review, 50(3), 81-89.

Scholten, K. and Schilder, S. 2015. The role of collaboration in supply chain resilience. Supply Chain Management, 20(4), 471-484.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1108/​SCM-11-2014-0386

Shefrin, H. 2020. The Psychology Underlying Biased Forecasts of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in the United States. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1-11.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.3389/​fpsyg.2020.590594

Simonet, D.V. and Tett, R. T. 2012. Five perspectives on the leadership-management relationship: A competency-based evaluation and integration. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies,  20(2), 199-213.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1177/​1548051812467205

Todo, Y., Nakajima, K. and Matous, P. 2015. How do supply chain networks affect the resilience of firms to natural disasters? Evidence from the Great East Japan Earthquake. Journal of Regional Science, 55(2), 209-229.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1111/​jors.12119

Uhl-Bien, M., Riggio, R.E., Lowe, K.B. and Carsten, M.K. 2014. Followership theory: A review and research agenda. The Leadership Quarterly, 25, 83-104.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1016/​j.leaqua.2013.11.007

Uhl-Bien, M. and Arena, M. (2017). Complexity leadership: Enabling people and organizations. Organizational Dynamics, 46(1), 9-20. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1016/​j.orgdyn.2016.12.001

Uhl-Bien, M. and Arena, M. (2018). Leadership for organizational adaptability: A theoretical synthesis and integrative framework. The Leadership Quarterly, 29, 89-104.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1016/​j.leaqua.2017.12.009

Young, P. C. 2004. Ethics and risk management: Building a framework. Risk Management, 6(3), 23-34.  https:/​/​www.jstor.org/​stable/​3867776?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents


KN Energy, Inc. (A)(B)(C) [uploaded on Canvas]

Lehman Brothers (A)(B) [uploaded on Canvas]

Porsche (A)(B)(C)(D)  [uploaded on Canvas]

Nokia – The Rise and Fall of an Icon  [uploaded on Canvas]

British Petroleum: From Texas City to the Gulf of Mexico and Beyond [uploaded on Canvas]



*Andersen, T. J. 2012. Strategic risk management: An overview. Henry Stewart Talks, London, UK. HSTalks – Campus and remote access https:/​/​hstalks.com/​t/​2415/​strategic-risk-management-an-overview/​?business

Sydney Finkelstein, Dartmouth Professor, Thought leader on strategic decision-making             https:/​/​www.youtube.com/​watch?v=D1OQ_DymxH0

The Bank That Bust the World  https:/​/​www.youtube.com/​watch?v=yyOnR2AMs-k

PBS News hour – Consulting and the Opioid Epidemic - Feb. 10, 2021.  https:/​/​www.pbs.org/​newshour/​show/​how-a-powerful-corporate-consulting-firm-helped-create-the-opioid-epidemic



BBC News, Fukushima disaster: Nuclear executives found not guilty. September 19, 2019.https:/​/​www.bbc.com/​news/​world-asia-49750180

British Petroleum, Press release. February 12, 2020.   https:/​/​www.bp.com/​en/​global/​corporate/​news-and-insights/​press-releases/​bernard-looney-announces-new-ambition-for-bp.html

CNBC  https:/​/​www.cnbc.com/​2017/​09/​05/​toymaker-lego-to-cut-8-percent-of-staff-as-sales-decline.html

Kell, John. 2017. General Mills loses the culture wars. Fortune – June issue. http:/​/​fortune.com/​2017/​05/​22/​general-mills-yoplait-greek-yogurt/​

McKinsey & Company – McKinsey on social responsibility   https:/​/​www.mckinsey.com/​about-us/​social-responsibility

The Texas City refinery explosion  https:/​/​www.youtube.com/​watch?v=goSEyGNfiPM


Other sources


BIS. (2015). Guidelines: Corporate Governance Principles for Banks. Bank for International Settlements.  https:/​/​www.bis.org/​bcbs/​publ/​d328.htm

Harvard Business School, Working Knowledge, Can LEGO Snap Together a Future in Asia? May 28, 2013.  https:/​/​hbswk.hbs.edu/​item/​can-lego-snap-together-a-future-in-asia

*IRM. 2002. A Risk Management Standard. The Institute of Risk Management, London, UK.  https:/​/​www.theirm.org/​media/​4709/​arms_2002_irm.pdf

IRM. 2010. A Structured Approach to Enterprise Risk Management. The Institute of Risk Management, London, UK.  https:/​/​www.ferma.eu/​app/​uploads/​2011/​10/​a-structured-approach-to-erm.pdf

IRM. 2018. Standard Deviations – A Risk Practitioners Guide to ISO 31000. The Institute of Risk Management, London, UK. [ https:/​/​www.theirm.org/​media/​6884/​irm-report-iso-31000-2018-v2.pdf ]

IRGC. 2020. Covid-19: A risk governance perspective. Spotlight on risk. International Risk Governance Center, Lausanne, Switzerland, pp. 1-8. https:/​/​www.epfl.ch/​research/​domains/​irgc/​spotlight-on-risk/​

IRGC. 2020. Low-carbon transition risk. Spotlight on risk. International Risk Governance Center, Lausanne, Switzerland, pp. 1-6. https:/​/​www.epfl.ch/​research/​domains/​irgc/​spotlight-on-risk/​

ISO. 2019. Business continuity ISO 22301. International organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland.   ISO - ISO 22301 - Business continuity

McKinsey. 2019. Operations practice: A practical approach to supply-chain risk management.  A practical approach to supply-chain risk management (mckinsey.com)

OECD. 2015. Principles of Corporate Goverance. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris, France.  https:/​/​www.oecd.org/​daf/​ca/​Corporate-Governance-Principles-ENG.pdf


Additional readings:

Andersen, T. J. 2012. Multinational risk and performance outcomes: Effects of knowledge intensity and industry context. International Business Review, 21, pp. 239–252.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1016/​j.ibusrev.2011.02.005

Andersen, T. J. and Hallin, C. A. (2016). The adaptive organization and fast-slow systems. The Oxford Research Encyclopedia, Business and Management. Oxford University Press, pp. 1-26. 

Banerjee, S. Humphery-Jenner, M. and Nanda, V. 2015. Restraining overconfident CEOs through Improved governance: Evidence from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The Review of Financial Studies, 28, 10, 2812–2858.

Benito, G. R. G., Pedersen, B. and Welsch, L. S. 2019. The global value chain and internalization theory. Journal of International Business Studies, 50, pp. 1414-1423.  https://doi.org/ 10.1057/​s41267-019-00218-8

Brennan, N. M. and Conroy, J. P. 2013. Executive hubris: The case of a bank CEO. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 26(2), 172-195.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1108/​09513571311303701

Dahlhoff, D. 2015. Why Target’s Canadian Expansion Failed. Harvard Business Review. January 20.  https:/​/​hbr.org/​2015/​01/​why-targets-canadian-expansion-failed

Drummond. H. 2002. Living in a fool’s paradise: The collapse of Barings’ Bank. Management Decision, 40(3), 232-238.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1108/​00251740210420183

Frigo, M. L. and Læssøe, H. 2012. Strategic risk management at the LEGO Group. Strategic Finance, 93(2), 27-35.

Ghoshal, S. 1987. Global strategy: An organizing framework. Strategic Management Journal, 8, 425-440.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1002/​smj.4250080503

Gilligan, G. 2011.  Jérôme Kerviel the 'rogue trader' of Société Générale: Bad luck, bad apple, bad tree or bad orchard? The Company Lawyer, 32(12), 355-362. 

Goodpaster, K.E. 1997.  The principle of moral projection.  In Werhane, P. H. and Freeman, R. E. (eds.) Blackwell Encyclopedic Dictionary of Business Ethics. Malden, MN, Blackwell Publishing (p. 432).

Heller, N. A. 2012. Leadership in crisis: An exploration of the British Petroleum case. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 3(18), 21-32.

Jung, J. C. and Sharon, E. 2019. The Volkswagen emissions scandal and its aftermath. Global Business and Organizational Excellence, 38(4), 6-15.https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1002/​joe.21930

Mason, R. O. 2004. Can a culture be lethal? Lessons in organizational ethics from the Columbia disaster. Organizational Dynamics, 33(2), 128–142.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1016/​j.orgdyn.2004.01.002   

Olavsrud, T. 2014. 11 Steps attackers took to crack Target. CIO Magazine. September 2.  https:/​/​www.cio.com/​article/​2600345/​11-steps-attackers-took-to-crack-target.html

Rafeld, H., Fritz-Morgenthal, S. and Posch, P.N.  2017. Behavioural patterns in rogue trading: Analysing the cases of Nick Leeson, Jérôme Kerviel and Kweku Adoboli—Part 1 and 2. Journal of Financial Compliance. (1, 2), 156-171, and (1, 3), 276-284.

Sax, J. and Andersen, T. J. 2018. Making risk management strategic: Integrating enterprise risk management with strategic planning. European Management Review, 16(3), 719-740.

Sax, J. and Torp, S. S. 2015. Speak up! Enhancing risk performance with enterprise risk management, leadership style and employee voice. Management Decision, 53(7), 1452-1468.

Stein, M. 2002. The risk taker as shadow: A psychoanalytic view of the collapse of Barings Bank. Journal of Management Studies. 37(8), 1215-1230.  https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1111/​1467-6486.00222

Last updated on 01/12/2021