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Between a rock and a hard place of geopolitically sensitive threats – critical incidents and decision inertia

Alison, L, Palace, M, Waring, S, Humphrey, A, Humann, M, Shortland, N and Bowman Grieve, L (2017) Between a rock and a hard place of geopolitically sensitive threats – critical incidents and decision inertia. Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression. ISSN 1943-4480

Between a Rock and a Hard Place of Geopolitically Sensitive Threats.pdf - Accepted Version

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While the SAFE-T model of decision making emphasizes naturalistic decision making, its potential for cross-comparative analysis of incidents with global implications remains underutilized, which the current paper aims to address. To this end, it draws upon open-source reports from unclassified American, British and Russian intelligence reports to explore the management of three types of 10 high-profile geopolitically sensitive threats from across the globe (verifying potential terrorist identity, hostage rescue and national/international security). Defining features of such incidents include decision makers’ ability to prospectively model competing scenarios in which they must select between options and where every outcome looks aversive and high risk (‘damned if you do or damned if you don’t decisions’). A frequent consequence of such calculations is ‘decision inertia’ (a failure to execute an important, irrevocable decision resulting in non-optimal consequences), or ‘implementation failure’ (a failure to make a choice). Combining the benefit of the theoretical framework and hindsight knowledge of the analyzed incidents, the paper facilitates theoretical understanding of decision inertia and failures to act. Encouraging the consideration of multiple scenario endings contingent on a wide spectrum of factors and unique cultural-historical context, it also helps identify past decision errors in order to inform assessment and management of similar geopolitical threats in the future.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression on 6 Sep 2017 available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/19434472.2017.1373690
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1602 Criminology, 1606 Political Science, 1701 Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2017 09:07
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2024 12:00
DOI or ID number: 10.1080/19434472.2017.1373690
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7193
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