Our study offers an in-depth investigation into how actors engage in the social construction of strategic risk in real-time. Using the case of an elite Pakistani bomb disposal squad, we show how disposal experts observe, and sense in-situ, the environment in order to construct risk and take moment-by-moment action on bomb disposal. Our focus on ‘sensory riskwork’, where experienced and knowledgeable actors actively detect and generate cues of their own to safely navigate turbulent environments, extends existing literature on the social construction of risk. Specifically, we propose a process model that delineates the skilled sensory riskwork actors engage in to detect and generate cues as they move toward three phases of riskwork: contextual assessment, remote engagement and close engagement. Our model highlights the critical importance of proximal sensory riskwork in constructing and navigating strategic risk in real-time, in situ, and how this enables actors to meet critical strategic goals.
Dr. Jane Lê is Professor of Strategic Management at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. Her research explores strategy in complex settings, particularly focusing on how people in organizational and interorganizational settings manage multiple competing goals. She has published her work in leading journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Organization Studies, Strategic Organization, and others. In addition, Jane is passionate about interpretive research and research methods. She has written on various aspects of the research process, including data collection and analysis, the specifics of process research, paradox methods, and CAQDAS. This work has been published in Organizational Research Methods, Strategic Organization and Research Methodology in Strategy and Management. Jane has served on the editorial boards of Organization Studies, Strategic Organization, and Organizational Research Methods (Associate Editor 2020-2024).