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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Risk Communication as Government Agency Organizational Practice

├ůsa Boholm
Risk Analysis: An Official Publication of the Society for Risk Analysis 2019 March 18
30884551
The dynamics of organizational risk communication is an understudied topic in risk research. This article investigates how public officials at six government agencies in Sweden understand and relate to risk communication and its uses in the context of agency organizational work on policy and regulation. Qualitative interviews were used to explore the practitioners' views on some key topics in the academic literature on risk communication. A main finding is that there is little consensus on what the goals of risk communication are; if, and how, uncertainty should be communicated; and what role is to be played by transparency in risk communication. However, the practitioners agree that dissemination (top down) to the public of robust scientific and expert knowledge is a crucial element. Dialogue and participation is used mainly with other agencies and elite stakeholders with whom agencies collaborate to implement policy goals. Dialogue with the public on issues of risk is very limited. Some implications of the findings for the practice of risk communication by government agencies are suggested.

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