Date of Conferral







John K. Schmidt


Despite regulatory guidelines, unreliable financial reporting exists in organizations, creating undue financial risk-harm for their stakeholders. Normal accident theory (NAT) identifies factors in highly complex integrated systems that can have unexpected, undetected, and uncorrected system failures. High-reliability organization (HRO) theory constructs promote reliability in complex, integrated systems prone to NAT factors. Enterprise risk management (ERM) integrates NAT factors and HRO constructs under a holistic framework to achieve organizational goals and mitigate the potential for stakeholder risk-harm. Literature on how HRO constructs promote ERM in responsible integrated financial systems has been limited. The purpose of this qualitative, grounded theory study was to use HRO constructs to identify and define the psychological factors involved in the effective ERM of responsible organizational financial reporting. Standardized, open-ended interviews were used to collect inductive data from a purposeful sample of 13 reporting agents stratifying different positions in organizations that have maintained consistent operational success while attenuating stakeholder risk-harm. The data were interpreted via transcription, and subsequent iterative open, axial, and narrative coding. Results showed that elements of culture and leadership found in the HRO construct of disaster foresightedness and mitigation fostered an internal environment of successful enterprise reporting risk management to ethically achieve organizational goals and abate third-party stakeholder risk-harm. The findings will contribute to positive social change by suggesting an approach for organizations to optimize strategic objectives while minimizing stakeholders' financial risk-harm.