How do terrorist groups control their members? Do the tools
groups use to monitor their operatives and enforce discipline
create security vulnerabilities that governments can exploit?
The Terrorist's Dilemma is the first book to
systematically examine the great variation in how terrorist groups
are structured. Employing a broad range of agency theory,
historical case studies, and terrorists' own internal documents,
Jacob Shapiro provocatively discusses the core managerial
challenges that terrorists face and illustrates how their political
goals interact with the operational environment to push them to
organize in particular ways.
Shapiro provides a historically informed explanation for why
some groups have little hierarchy, while others resemble miniature
firms, complete with line charts and written disciplinary codes.
Looking at groups in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, he
highlights how consistent and widespread the terrorist's
dilemma--balancing the desire to maintain control with the need for
secrecy--has been since the 1880s. Through an analysis of more than
a hundred terrorist autobiographies he shows how prevalent
bureaucracy has been, and he utilizes a cache of internal documents
from al-Qa'ida in Iraq to outline why this deadly group used so
much paperwork to handle its people. Tracing the strategic
interaction between terrorist leaders and their operatives, Shapiro
closes with a series of comparative case studies, indicating that
the differences in how groups in the same conflict approach their
dilemmas are consistent with an agency theory perspective.
The Terrorist's Dilemma demonstrates the management
constraints inherent to terrorist groups and sheds light on
specific organizational details that can be exploited to more
efficiently combat terrorist activity.
Subjects: Political Science, Psychology, Management & Organizational Behavior
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