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Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1424; doi:10.3390/su9081424

An Investigation into Risk Perception in the ICT Industry as a Core Component of Responsible Research and Innovation

1
Centre for Professional Ethics, Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE, UK
2
Italian Association for Industrial Research (AIRI), Viale Gorizia 25/c, Roma 00198, Italy
3
Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility, School of Computer Science and Informatics, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 June 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 8 August 2017 / Published: 11 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in Industry)
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Abstract

This paper makes an original contribution to the responsible research and innovation (RRI) discourse, with an inquiry into the extent to which risk, risk assessment, or risk management, including ethical and social issues, is relevant to companies. As a core component of the higher or “meta-responsibility” of RRI, an investigation of practices and attitudes towards risks can provide us with a window into companies’ attitudes towards responsible innovation that is rooted in real-world experiences. Drawing upon data from 30 in-depth interviews and a large Delphi study, we reveal different underlying attitudes towards risk governance for individuals working in the information and communication technology (ICT) industry. For some companies, there is already an obvious degree of alignment with RRI values. For others, framing of the RRI discourse in terms of ethical and societal risks may help to promote understanding and uptake. Results from the interviews suggest that lack of awareness of the full extent of ethical and societal risks associated with research and innovation in the ICT industry may act as a barrier to engagement with RRI, and educational activities may be needed to rectify this situation. Results from the Delphi survey suggest that when presented with simple information about potential ethical and societal risks, industry personnel can easily recognise the main risks and provide clear opinions about how they should be addressed. The relationship between risk governance and RRI warrants further investigation as it is an essential facet of RRI. View Full-Text
Keywords: responsible research and innovation; risk assessment; risk management; Delphi study; interviews; ICT responsible research and innovation; risk assessment; risk management; Delphi study; interviews; ICT
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Chatfield, K.; Borsella, E.; Mantovani, E.; Porcari, A.; Stahl, B.C. An Investigation into Risk Perception in the ICT Industry as a Core Component of Responsible Research and Innovation. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1424.

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