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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77545 Find in a Library
Title: Story of Inadequacy - Hierarchical Authority Versus the Terrorist (From Political Terrorism and Business - The Threat and Response, P 106-112, 1979, Yonah Alexander and Robert A Kilmarx, ed. - See NCJ-77538)
Author(s): D G Hubbard
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Praeger Publishers
Westport, CT 06881
Sale Source: Praeger Publishers
88 Post Road West
Westport, CT 06881
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The hierarchical authority model commonly used in the operation of corporations and governments is disparaged as a decisionmaking and action mechanism for dealing with terrorist incidents, and an alternative approach is proposed.
Abstract: Existing studies indicate that the hierarchical authority model is useful for the orderly distribution of mass produce and the administration of mass governments but is improperly designed to address the unpredictable timing and eccentric character of terrorist acts. Experience has shown that efforts to deal with terrorist incidents from within the hierarchical model have led to one of the four following responses: (1) acquiescence, in which even the most outrageous terrorist demands were met; (2) abstinence, where a committee's study, evaluation, and reporting resulted in no action; (3) abdication, where the committee assigned to the crisis released its authority to a senior officer or an uninvited outside agency moved in; or (4) assassination, where authorities acted in response to public frustration with stalled negotiations and precipitated terrorist violence against hostages. An alternative to dealing with terrorist incidents from within an hierarchical system is to assign crisis management to one person from outside the hierarchical structure being threatened or coerced. This person's training and practice would be geared toward dealing with unpredictable, threatening emergencies. This outside specialist would be given prior authority to act without reference to hierarchical authority. This authority would include complete responsibility for the management of the incident, the outcome, and the aftermath.
Index Term(s): Business security; Counter-terrorism tactics; Crisis management; Industrial security; Organization studies; Systems analysis
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