Sven Ove Hansson, “Risk analysis under structural uncertainty”, pp. 241-264 in Terje Aven and Enrico Zio, Knowledge in Risk Assessment and Management, Wiley 2018.
Abstract: Standard decision theory is devoted to problems in which we have a well-defined decision to make. We are assumed to know what we are going to decide, what options we can choose among, and what their potential consequences are. Real life decisions often have to be made under conditions when much of that information is missing. This applies not least to many safety management decisions. When the decision procedure starts it is often unsettled exactly what issues are going to be decided upon, whether a single decision is going to be made about all of them or the decision will be subdivided and in that case how, when the decision(s) should be made, what options are open to the decision-maker(s), what the criteria are for a successful decision, etc. In sum, the structure of the decision is undefined from the beginning and has to be constructed as part of the decision-making process. This chapter introduces the topic of structural uncertainty and proposes some conceptual tools for dealing with it.