Trends in international terrorism against business targets

Andrew Lee

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    One of the key contemporary challenges facing international business is how the effects of international terrorism can be managed, particularly when the terrorism threat is unpredictable and indiscriminate. In addition, attacks on an international business may be based on what the organisation symbolises in the minds of the attackers rather than the actual nature of the business. Awareness of international business as a terrorist target has increased following the September 11th terrorist attack in New York, resulting in higher levels of security spending and crisis planning. However, the reaction to the international terrorism threat is driven by the perception of risk, which in turn is influenced by the media reporting of terrorism incidents. Public perception has a subsequent psychological effect on employees and consumers, and the way in which the types of targets of attacks are not discriminated within media reports blur the distinction between the perception of international terrorism risk for business targets and the actual trends in attacks against business targets based on historical data. Without distinguishing the two, the business challenges faced when assessing threats and mitigating risks from international terrorism attacks are magnified. To develop a clearer perspective on the threat of international terrorism attacks on business targets, this paper analyses historical trends based on the Terrorism Knowledge Base to answer four questions: where are international terrorism attacks more likely to occur? What types of target are more at risk - businesses themselves or the infrastructure that supports them? What types of tactics, and what types of weapons are used in the attacks. Answers to these last two questions suggest which physical countermeasures that can be concentrated upon to protect business assets. The results from the analysis show a significant difference between trends in international terrorism against business targets and the perceptions of international terrorism threats by board level business executives. This perceptual gap may have an influence on business risk decisions by basing risk mitigation strategies on perceived rather than actual trends in international terrorism activity. By isolating attacks on business targets only, the challenges to businesses from international terrorism can be put into context to benefit international risk management strategies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationContemporary challenges to international business
    EditorsS. Davies, K. Ibeh
    Place of PublicationBasingstoke
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Print)9780230218451
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Publication series

    NameAcademy of International Business Series
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan


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