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Anette Mikes

Anette Mikes is Professor of Accounting, Control and Risk Management at HEC Lausanne. She was the 2017 laureate of the prestigious ACA Prize of the University of St. Gallen for her contributions to the field of risk management and financial governance.

Anette is a pioneer in the Risk Management industry. Formerly at Harvard Business School, she launched together with Professor Robert Kaplan the Harvard executive education program “Risk Management for Corporate Leaders”.

She has twice won the prestigious David Solomons award, in 2010 with “Risk Management and Calculative Cultures” and in 2016 with “How do Risk Managers become influential?”

Her research documentary “The Kursk Submarine Rescue Mission” won the most outstanding short film award at the 2014 Global Disaster Risk Forum in Davos.

Anette’s current research project “Values at Risk” focuses on the interface between Risk Management, strategy and business ethics.

Values at Risk: The Ethical Turn in Risk Management

Risk managers are flirting with business ethics. The well-known corporate-governance guidelines on ERM, issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organisations (COSO) have recently published a revision that explicitly urges risk managers to get involved in “challenging decisions” that involve ethical dilemmas. Effectively, the Code is asking risk managers to assess the ethicality of corporate plans and actions.

So are we experiencing an ethical turn in risk management? Can and do risk managers bring an ethical dimension into strategic decision-making and into the everyday life of organisations?

In order to answer these questions, we need to understand what the elevation of ethics into risk management might entail conceptually and how it manifests in practice. Risk management, an originally “amoral” management practice, has to be adequately equipped. Drawing on case studies conducted in Switzerland and in Canada, I demonstrate that some risk managers now design specific tools to add an ethical dimension to their decision-making and strategy processes, thereby becoming able to monitor if their organization lives up to its espoused core values and priorities, as well as to its strategic objectives.