1st Edition

Political Risk Intelligence for Business Operations in Complex Environments

By Robert Mckellar Copyright 2023
    430 Pages 135 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    430 Pages 135 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Macro-level dynamics and modelling are well represented in the mainstream political risk literature. However, not many writings on the subject get their hands dirty in terms of revealing the hard, nuanced and practical work behind knowing what the issues might be for a specific foreign operation in a sensitive or volatile context, and how to plan for them.

    Political Risk Intelligence for Business Operations in Complex Environments provides international managers, and by extension their organisations, with a foundational understanding of political risk analysis and planning for on-the-ground operations in challenging times and places. This means having a fluid grasp of what political risk means and why it matters in the organisation’s context, and how relevant intelligence can be gathered and analysed to inform decisions and planning towards an operation’s socio-political resilience.

    The book explains:

    • How and why political risk manifests and the forms it can take
    • Company attitudes and operational attributes as a political risk variable
    • Understanding the operational implications of socio-political dynamics and trends
    • Stakeholder identification and analysis for informed engagement planning
    • Scenario analysis to prepare for long-term contingencies and discontinuities
    • Holistic, intelligence-driven political risk management planning
    • Tactical intelligence exercises to maintain awareness and inform adaptation
    • Intelligence management, collection and quality control
    • Ethical considerations in political risk management

    Rather than being bound by conventional notions of risk, the book emphasises the dynamic relationship between a foreign operation and its host environment and milieu as a source of both challenges and opportunities to manage them. Concepts, frameworks and practices are rounded out with real-world examples and relevant lessons from the author’s experience as a political risk consultant.


    Part I. Core Concepts
    Chapter 1. Political Risk
    Chapter 2 Complex Environments
    Chapter 3. Country Operations
    Chapter 4. Introduction to Intelligence

    Part II. The Baseline Intelligence Exercise
    Chapter 5. Baseline Intelligence Exercise Overview
    Chapter 6. Context and Focus
    Chapter 7. Terrain Analysis
    Chapter 8. Stakeholder Analysis
    Chapter 9. Political Risk Management Planning
    Chapter 10. Scenario Analysis
    Chapter 11. Supplementary Intelligence Exercises

    Part III. The Practice of Intelligence
    Chapter 12. Intelligence Management
    Chapter 13. Intelligence Sources
    Chapter 14. Intelligence Quality Pitfalls and Remedies


    Robert McKellar is an independent political risk consultant. He holds an MA in political science from Canada and a Master of International Business from France, and studied Arabic in Tunisia for a year. Robert’s political risk career began with periodic freelance assignments in the 1990s. He worked as an international strategic marketing consultant and with established risk advisories before creating his independent practice. Robert has conducted advisory, training and assessment cases for business and NGO clients, and has been involved with security sector reform projects in post-conflict environments. He has fieldwork experience in several regions, but particularly North Africa and the Middle East. Robert is the author of A Short Guide to Political Risk (2010) and the chapter on political risk in The Risk Management Handbook (ed. David Hillson, 2016).