The role of risk management in technology adoption

Project dates: 01/09/2019 - 28/02/2021

The role of risk management in technology adoption

Funded by the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE), this research investigated how mining companies could improve the management of risk and opportunity throughout the new technology adoption process, in a systemic and integrative way.

Project title:

“Developing a risk management model to support new technology adoption in the mining industry”

Project aims, scope and importance

This project contributes to CRC ORE’s Program 4 objective of developing management systems to support organisational change to “ensure the benefits of disruptive new technologies can be sustained in what are often entrenched operating cultures”.  Program 4 recognises that the mining industry can be reluctant to adopt new technology due to misaligned organisational systems and processes, including risk management; compounded by high levels of complexity and uncertainty throughout the new technology adoption process.

The research was conducted over two stages:

Stage 1 consisted of an interview program with 26 senior representatives from mining companies operating in Australia.

Stage 2 was an international comparative survey of 207 executives, directors and managers from both the mining and automotive manufacturing sectors, to identify best practice in enhancing the technology risk management capability.

Project learnings

In summary, the research findings highlight Pioneers or Early Adopters of new technology tended to:

  • apply more comprehensive and integrative risk management practices at a company-wide level; and use a wider array of risk management methods more frequently.
  • perceive technical risks pertaining to the performance, fit and function of the new technology as the most critical when deciding whether to proceed with a new technology.
  • possess greater managerial ‘bandwidth’ to consider externally focussed risks (such as reputational risk) at the earlier stages of the adoption process, and the alignment to long-term business objectives and opportunities.

By applying risk management methods (both qualitative and quantitative) in an integrative way, these pioneering companies obtain a clearer picture of their exposure to risk throughout the technology adoption process and identify how they can reduce sources of uncertainty to improve risk control.

Project outcomes

With a focus on ‘pioneering’ companies, the results provided input into the development of the Model of New Technology Adoption Risk (MoNTAR). The Model (Figure 1 below) incorporates: 1) enterprise risk management best practices; 2) key risk management tools; and 3) critical risks to be considered throughout the New Technology Adoption Process.

This Model forms part of a ‘toolkit’ to assist mining companies navigate the uncertainty and risks associated with new technology adoption.

Figure 1. Model of New Technology Adoption Risk (MoNTAR) Best Practices

The research emphasises a need for mining companies to develop a customised approach to managing new technology adoption risk (considering its systemic nature), greater strategic focus on long-term research and development, improved collaborative efforts with suppliers and technology vendors, and increased technology diffusion from outside the mining sector to maximise the benefits of technology adoption.

Contact us

If you would like to know more about this project, please contact us:

Phone: +61 7 3138 7667



GPO Box 2434
Brisbane, QLD 4001

Level 7, Z Block, Gardens Point Campus
2 George Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000

Funding / Grants

  • CRC ORE (2019 - 2021)

Chief Investigators