Why do militant groups experience intra-organizational conflict?
Avenick, Michael B.
Warren, T. Camber
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Under what conditions are militant groups more likely to experience intra-organizational conflict? This paper seeks to contribute to the rebel group and political violence literature by drawing upon the insights of previous scholarship in these areas, and from organizational theory and social identity theory, to identify these conditions. These factors are then tested using a sample of militant ethno-political groups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) collected within the Minorities at Risk Organizational Behavior (MAROB) Database. The results of multiple regression analyses indicate that these groups experience a systematic increase in the likelihood of intra-organizational conflict when they experience a loss of unified leadership, when they attempt to govern territory, when they obtain legal recognition from the state, when they receive foreign assistance, and when they promote authoritarian views. The results also demonstrate that state violence against these groups had no consistent influence on their likelihood of experiencing intra-organizational conflict. These findings point the way for additional research on the interactions between ethnic identity and state violence. They also hold important implications for policymakers and military planners, as events, policies, or actions which affect the above factors can be expected to affect levels of intra-organizational conflict. In contrast, the direct use of state violence appears unlikely to generate systematic increases or decreases in group intra-organizational conflict.
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