A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Terrorist Organizational Dynamics


Most terrorism is carried out by organizations with particular political motivations, mobilization issues, and other characteristics that affect their behavior, including their attacks. Group dynamics are often overlooked when research focuses on units of analysis such as countries or individuals. However, understanding the organizational dynamics of terrorism can shed light on this type of violence in important ways. This chapter begins by discussing definitions of key concepts, and then analyzes recent literature on several prominent topics: outbidding, internal group dynamics, and organizational longevity or failure. It concludes by noting potential avenues for future research, including more work on strategic interactions between terrorist organizations and states, as well as increased dialogue with research on related topics such as civil conflict.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Phillips, Brian J. “Terrorist Organizational Dynamics.” The Oxford Handbook of Terrorism, eds. Erica Chenoweth, Richard English, Andreas Gofas, and Stathis N. Kalyvas. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198732914.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780198732914-e-23

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