What explains the survival of terrorist groups? Alliances and competition

Publication date:
Brian J. Phillips, profesor investigador titular, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), México

Why do some terrorist groups last longer than others? What does this longevity tell us about the effectiveness of terrorist organisations? This article first examines why organisational survival can be considered to be an element of organisational effectiveness. Second, the article reviews the recent literature on terrorist group longevity,including a systematic examination of ten quantitative studies on the subject. The analysis shows that certain factors are repeatedly associated with longevity, such as group size and participation in terrorist group alliances. Third, given the theoretical interest in interorganisational relationships,consideration is then given to arguments on the likely reasons terrorist group alliances and intergroup competition contribute to group longevity. Finally, some suggestions are made to move research on this topic forward.

Key words: terrorist groups, organisational survival, alliances, competition, longevity

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DOI: doi.org/10.24241/rcai.2016.112.1.99