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Terrorist Groups as Business Firms: A New Typological Framework

21 Terrorism and Political Violence 327

8 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2007 Last revised: 17 Jun 2013

Aaron Zelinsky

University of Maryland Francis Carey School of Law

Martin Shubik

Yale University - School of Management; Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Existing typological frameworks currently fail to categorize terrorist groups by their operational characteristics. We propose a new framework which compares terrorist groups to business firms. In our framework, terrorist groups are mapped on two axes: centralization of resources and centralization of operations. Using this framework, we separate terrorist groups into four typologies echoing familiar business arrangements: Hierarchy, Venture Capital, and Brand. Responses to each typology are briefly sketched out. We conclude by analyzing the changes in Al Qaeda over the last two decades in the context of our framework, focusing on its increasing decentralization. We close by proposing appropriate policy responses to combat Al Qaeda in light of its current Brand typology.

Suggested Citation

Zelinsky, Aaron and Shubik, Martin, Terrorist Groups as Business Firms: A New Typological Framework (2009). 21 Terrorism and Political Violence 327. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=959258 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.959258

Aaron Zelinsky

University of Maryland Francis Carey School of Law ( email )

500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786
United States

Martin Shubik (Contact Author)

Yale University - School of Management ( email )

Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States

Yale University - Cowles Foundation ( email )

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States
203-432-3694 (Phone)
203-432-6167 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/au/d_shubik.htm

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