Organizational vulnerability of digital threats: A first validation of an assessment method
We present a Strengths, Vulnerability, and Intervention Assessment related to Digital Threats (SVIDT) method, which provides a problem structuring and decision support for organizational vulnerability and resilience management with respect to changes of the digital transition. The method starts from (i) a multi-level actor analysis, (ii) identifies strengths and weaknesses of organizations, (iii) constructs digital threat scenarios and provides judgment-based expert assessments on the organization's vulnerability, (iv) develops intervention scenarios for tangible threat scenarios, and (v) suggests win-win action scenarios when referring to the multi actor system analysis as for strategic management. A first validation and application includes a structural analysis of the response patterns and a quantitative and qualitative appraisal of the organizations' managers. This validation is based on an application of the method to 18 German and Austrian organizations of different types and magnitude. We show how the basic concepts of vulnerability (i.e., sensitivity, exposure adaptive capacity) can be quantitatively operationalized when constructing consistent combinations of threat and intervention scenarios. The validation approaches indicate that the method provides meaningful data and assessments and that the managers provided a positive feedback on the method and the recommendations which they received. It is further deliberated whether the assessment method supports organizations' specified resilience management in an overly complex, systemic digital transition in a (semi) quantitative manner. In addition, we discuss needs for future research regarding practical utility of SVIDT, as well as the positioning of SVIDT in relation to soft operational methods and other methods of operational research.