Risk assessment as a subjective process

by Ralph E. Strauch

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Most extant approaches to risk assessment stress methodological and procedural solutions to the problem, in part because method and procedure are viewed as bulwarks against the fallibilities and limitations of human judgment. This paper examines the other side of that coin, the use of judgment and intuition as bulwarks against the fallibilities and limitations of formal methodology. Those limitations are described, and capabilities which judgment and intuition provide to compensate for them discussed. The paper calls for a greater synthesis of judgment and methodology, in which they aid and support each other instead of competing.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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