Normative Command and Control Influences: A Study of Cohesion in Terrorist Organizations and Their Effect on Society   [open pdf - 627KB]

"Current Afghanistan operations demonstrate the ability for terrorist organizations to flourish without clear structure. Such organizations likely adopt missionary and/or adhocracy structures, which are underdeveloped theoretically and empirically with organizational theorizing, particularly military command and control concepts. However, terrorist organizations are groups and thus subject to norm processes. From an open systems view of organizations, processes develop according to the operating conditions of the group. As conditions change, internally and externally, groups must adopt norming strategies within the constraints of the group's environment. If a group is unable to maintain a norming structure facilitating group cohesion and clear understanding of the group's mission, then that group will likely fail to meet its objectives or cease to exist. Thus the ability of a terrorist organization to achieve its objectives is partially dependent upon its ability to influence, directly or indirectly, the society in which it operates. Terrorist organizations must entice people to willingly join a group that assumingly does not value less radical societal norms. This work studies norming processes within terrorist organizations. It begins with a review of the norming literature and thus applies reviewed concepts to terrorist organizations. It provides a foundation from which future researchers can test hypotheses related to terrorist groups and their environments from a normative perspective of command and control."

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