What is the Definition of Risk Behavior?

  • Posted on: 21 April 2019
risk behavior

According to Richmond.gov.uk, risk behaviors are defined as “those that potentially expose people to harm, or significant risk of harm which will prevent them reaching their potential.”

At RedCrow Intelligence and Crownox, I constantly advise organizations and individuals on risk mitigation during the orientation stage before sending them overseas. From a security perspective, my definition of risk behavior draws on 3 main pillars: cultural, political and legal. It is essential for a person to understand his or her environment and act accordingly; a behavior can trigger danger in different surroundings depending on the cultural, political and legal context of the situation.

When looking at culture, the simple act of approaching a female deems different ramifications in different regions. Additionally, dress codes and descriptions of harassment differ across regions. With that said, a person should possess cultural sensitivity in the area they are operating. For example, guidelines of harassment are looser in the West than in Arab countries and are even backed by the law, which could ultimately result in legal ramifications. As such, in addition to culture, one must also take the law into consideration. For example, it is illegal for a couple to check into a hotel without a marriage certificate in Kuwait whereas in The United States it is perfectly acceptable by law.

In addition to culture and law, a person should also be aware of the politics in the country they are visiting. The West is known for being more “PC” or politically correct while other countries are not as conservative. Similar to the West, Ireland is politically sensitive so one must be aware of the lingo they use when speaking on political matters. What is considered an intellectual debate in one country can easily be considered a life struggle in another country whereby the reaction would be much more hostile.

Political, legal and cultural factors can also differ within the same country. For example, saying the word “bomb” in an airport or school within a district is deemed a risk or threat whereas singing it in a song at a local concert is seen as normal.