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De-constituting al-Qa’ida: CCO theory and the decline and dissolution of hidden organizations


This study reconceptualizes the decline and dissolution of hidden organizations using the four flows model of constitutive communication. Analyzing internal al-Qa’ida documents captured during the 2011 U.S. raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that killed Osama Bin Laden, this study explains how losses of control over the flows of membership negotiation, self-structuring, activity coordination, and institutional positioning have both reflected and reinforced al-Qa’ida’s decline. Interventions inspired by a communicative constitution of organization (CCO) perspective are proposed as a way to accelerate al-Qa’ida’s dissolution. The implications of the four flows model for both counterterrorism strategy and theorizing hidden organizations are discussed.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Bean, Hamilton and Ronald J. Buikema. 2015. "De-constituting al-Qa’ida: CCO theory and the decline and dissolution of hidden organizations." Management Communication Quarterly29, 512- 538 (lead article of special issue on “Hidden Organizations”). http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0893318915597300

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