Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours

School

School of Computer and Security Science

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Jonathan David Brooks

Abstract

People tend to see danger and risk in different ways depending on their experiences, attitudes and beliefs (Douglas, 1992; Kahan, 2008; Slovic, 1992). In order to develop effective risk mitigation strategies, an approach that can successfully manage competing worldviews is needed. Hospitals provide a challenging setting for security due to the contrast between the open nature of the environment and the need for appropriate entry and access control measures. This study assessed the utility of the Cultural Cognition methodology in a security risk context by measuring competing worldviews and risk perceptions between various cohorts in a healthcare environment. Cultural Cognition provides a methodology for fmding out how people perceive risks, and offers an explanatory framework that may increase the effectiveness of risk communication and security risk management (Kahan, 2008). This study measured the cultural worldviews and security risk perceptions of three cohorts, being Doctors, Nurses and Patient Care Assistants (PCA's) from three hospital Wards with different access control requirements. The collected data were analysed for statistically significant differences and measured onto spatial maps using the Cultural Cognition grid/group typology. The results demonstrated that, for all cohorts, there was a significant correlation between cultural worldviews and perceptions of entry and access control risk, and that the cohorts had selected their risk perceptions according to their cultural adherence. Organisational and social stratifications were demonstrated to have an impact on both cultural worldviews and security risk perceptions. The different cohorts were also found to have formed dominant worldviews within their self defined reference groups. This study demonstrated that cultural risk worldviews correlate with security risk perceptions. Therefore, an integration of Cultural Cognition into the risk management process would improve risk communication and employee participation in the security effort, and reduce security decay. Successful application of the Cultural Cognition methodology within a security risk management context would allow for a cross-cultural risk consensus to be achieved among disparate cultural groups, providing risk mitigation strategies with more widespread support from the participants in the security effort.

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