The headless horseman: a theoretical and strategic assessment of leadership targeting
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Under what conditions is leadership targeting against terrorist groups likely to be effective? This paper develops a theory of leadership (based on work in sociology, organizational design, political science (collective action problem), and terrorism studies) which argues that leaders potentially perform two main functions – they provide inspiration and/or operational direction. The more important the individual leader is in providing these functions to the organization, the more likely that leadership targeting will be effective. Case studies of Aum Shinrikyo in Japan, the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) of Algeria, and the Shining Path of Peru are used to demonstrate the validity of the argument.
This paper was presented at: 2010 International Studies Association Convention, annual meeting of the Theory vs. Policy? Connecting Scholars and Practitioners, New Orleans, February 17, 2010.
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