Risky Business: Corruption, Fraud, Terrorism, and Other Threats to Global Business

By John A. Cote, CPP

Risky Business: Corruption, Fraud, Terrorism, and Other Threats to Global Business. By Stuart Poole-Robb and Alan Bailey; published by Kogan Page, 44(0) 1903 828 503 (phone), (Web); 320 pages; £16.99.

Current headlines are largely devoted to the war on terrorism, but there has been another war going on for much longer: the commercial war. That war involves the multiple security risks associated with doing business.

In Risky Business, Stuart Poole-Robb and Alan Bailey explain how the risks associated with this war are identified and evaluated. Their skillful use of case studies, scenarios, and charts and graphs helps put into perspective the risks of doing business in nondomestic markets.

Their book is essentially an overview of how the Merchant International Group, Poole-Robb's corporate intelligence firm, assigns risk to nondomestic markets. It uses a method called Gray Area Dynamics, which the authors describe as a collection of passive and nonpassive, legal and illegal risk factors not generally evaluated in conventional due diligence investigations and risk assessments.

Of particular interest to corporate security managers with businesses in hotspots overseas are chapters 15 through 19. This section examines the major areas of instability in the world--the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia Pacific--forecasts likely scenarios in those regions and assigns a probability level to each scenario. The authors then predict what the likely outcome of each scenario will be. Readers should keep in mind that this book is a reprint of a revised 2003 edition, so some of its information is almost two years old.

Risky Business makes the case that security directors must fully explain the risk picture to corporate decision makers. Many examples in the book show how companies leaped into what appeared to be lucrative business deals before adequately assessing the risks. These lively case studies highlight the importance of due diligence.

One negative note: On a few occasions, the book reads like an advertisement for the Merchant International Group. To their credit, however, the authors completely describe their Gray Area Dynamics method, which makes it possible for security executives to incorporate elements of that well-developed tool into their own assessments.


Reviewer: John A. Cote, CPP, is principal consultant with Security Solutions, Kladno, in the Czech Republic. He recently received his masters in strategic intelligence with an emphasis in terrorism studies. He is the Czech Republic chapter director for the International Association for Counterterrorism and Security Professionals and a member of ASIS International.



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