Book Review: Rethinking Reputational Risk

It took me a while but I am glad that I finally got round to finishing this book and just before the clock struck midnight 2016. Given that my current day job is in the financial services industry and the numerous questions surrounding the state of corporate governance in the Kenyan banking industry definitely made me request this book from Net Galley…

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Title: Rethinking Reputational Risk

Authors: Anthony Fitzsimmons and Derek Atkins

Publisher: Kogan Page

Publishing Date: January 2017

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars

It took me a while but I am glad that I finally got round to finishing this book and just before the clock struck midnight 2016. Given that my current day job is in the financial services industry and the numerous questions surrounding the state of corporate governance in the Kenyan banking industry definitely made me request this book from Net Galley (in exchange for a free and honest review, of course).

Fitzsimmons and Atkins argue that there’s need for companies to reassess how they perceive and assess different types of risk and how they eventually build or dent an organisation’s reputation and its future as a going concern. Their major concern is on behavioural-related risks which they discuss at great length and different levels of an organisation. I am glad that they brought up the issue of dominant and charismatic CEOs who tend influence stakeholders into believing that all is well…I don’t think I need to give the list… One of the things that particularly amused me was the fact that they recommended that risk officers should be drawn from the fields of psychology, sociology, anthropology, HR and organisational behaviour. I think that this is a definite deviation from the technical fields like IT, Finance and Actuarial Science. It is clear that more and more people are accepting qualitative risk elements too. They also emphasised the importance of communication which is imperative in any form of relationship whether professional or social.

The only issue that I had with this book was the reading format. As I have highlighted in previous posts, I am definitely an old-school hard copy kind of girl but since I want to save a few more trees in my lifetime, I am making conscious steps to reading more e-books so Netgalley has been a great ally. But I take much longer in reading books in e-format than hard cover so that I can’t annotate to my heart’s content.  Moreover, I was really disappointed with the quality of diagrams, graphs and tables. For instance, I was not able to compare how a reputation crisis affected the company ‘s share prices.  I am not sure if it is because I was using a Kindle app and not an actually Kindle. If you have any suggestions on how to go about this, please let me know.

Well, the cases were mostly Western-centric which I think is valid since that may have been the book’s main target audience. However, it would have been interesting to read about high-level reputation crises from other leading economies such as Japan, China, Russia, Germany which have different corporate governance structures. So I am open to suggestions on these issues especially in financial sectors in emerging economies in the comment section below.

The book features current and fresh case studies from diverse industries (such as Volkswagen) which they methodologically broke down and analysed. This was a definite plus and I will definitely look for more of there work online including the cited cases. Though Rethinking Reputational Risk can be read by anyone interested in Corporate Governance and Risk Management, I think that it would be perfect for someone in middle and upper-level management since it has questions to mull over at the end of each chapter and would require practical experience. I would like to further suggest that it would be an eye-opener for colleagues in the ‘tech’ and ‘numbers’ departments who are always sceptical about the Public Relations budget.

Image Credits: Goodreads

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