Splitting to Survive: Understanding Terrorist Group Fragmentation

Article


Morrison, J. 2017. Splitting to Survive: Understanding Terrorist Group Fragmentation. Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice. 3 (3), pp. 222-232.
AuthorsMorrison, J.
Abstract

Purpose: From Al-Qaeda to the IRA almost all terrorist organisations have experienced splits in some shape or form. This can spell the dawn of violent spoiler groups, but it may equally play a significant role in the overall politicisation of a group. This article aims to provide a greater understanding of these splits by assessing the issue from a political organisational perspective.
Design/methodology/approach: The author proposes that by addressing splits through the lens of organisational survival we may gain a greater insight into the process which takes place in the lead up to, and in the aftermath of organisational cleavage.
Findings: It is posited that the rationale behind schism can, at times, be the result of a desire from at least one side to maintain the survival of the organisation in a form they both respect and recognise. In order to achieve this it might require forming an independent, autonomous organisation, or alternatively promoting the exit of internal factional competitors.
Research limitations/implications: Within the article three organisational hypotheses are proposed. It is vital that in order to assess their validity that these are empirically tested by future researchers.
Practical implications: In order to be able to counter terrorist organisations one must first have an understanding of the external and internal events and processes. While much of our attention is understanding paid to the external violent activity of the groups we must also develop a significant understanding of the non-violent internal activities as well. This article provides a theoretical basis for understanding one of these process, organisational split.
Social implications:
Originality/value: By addressing splits from an organisational survival viewpoint it challenges the previously held assumption that splits should be analysed as part of the ‘end of terrorism.’

JournalJournal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice
Journal citation3 (3), pp. 222-232
ISSN2056-3841
Year2017
PublisherEmerald
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1108/JCRPP-07-2016-0013
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1108/JCRPP-07-2016-0013
Publication dates
Print18 Sep 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited27 Mar 2017
Accepted25 Mar 2017
Accepted25 Mar 2017
Copyright information© 2017 Emerald.
LicenseAll rights reserved
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