Communications of the IIMA


Risk management is an important component in understanding and managing information technology (IT) projects. The traditional view of risk management focuses on a three-stage process: identifying risk, assessing risk, and developing a strategy for dealing with each risk. This, unfortunately, may give project stakeholders a false sense of security. Although the application of risk management philosophies, techniques, tools, and methods to managing IT projects is not new, the idea of viewing risk as a social construction outlines a new paradigm for understanding and managing risk. Since the idea of a social construction view of risk has been introduced only recently, no studies have been published to provide support for the development of a theoretical framework. This study provides a case study of an IT project undertaken at a large university located in the midwestem United States. The challenges and problems encountered by the ResTech Helpdesk staff outline a social construction of risk based on not only the organization itself, but also the characteristics of the project, its stakeholders, and other groups involved. Therefore, many of the challenges of this project would be inherent to a university setting but would not be inherent to most other organizations.