There are a number of factors that come together to turn a potential issue into an actual risk. Linda Locke, group head of reputation and issues management for MasterCard, points out the following components in the context of questions you can ask to determine the severity of the risk, and to choose the best means of responding:
• Awareness: Was there a problem? Did you let me know about it?
• Choice: Did I choose to take on the risk, or was it imposed on me?
• Nature: Is the risk natural or man-made?
• Dread: Do I fear this risk?
• Detectability: Can I touch/see it? Is it quantifiable? Containable?
• Equity: What does the risk do for me? Is anyone bearing the risk who doesn’t benefit from it?
• Scientific View: Do experts understand it? Do they agree/disagree about it?
• Media: Have I read about/seen it in the media?
• Pressure Groups: Have I noticed pressure groups focusing on it?