Vandalism-militancy relationship: the influence of risk perception and moral disengagement

Oluwasoye Patrick Mafimisebi, Sara Thorne

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Risk perception and moral disengagement underpin crisis intensification and influence risk behaviours. After arguing about the crucial significance of the influence of risk perception and moral disengagement in addressing vandalism and militancy crisis, we provide conceptual clarification of moral disengagement, moral evaluation and social trust. The research clarifies the influence and implication of risk perception and moral disengagement in crisis management within the context of vandalism and militant incidents. Specifically, this study suggests that there are potential gains in crisis management if strategic options are anchored on crisis dimension, morality issues and risk perception. In fact, the study found that people are more likely to disengage from moral conducts and even become skilled at neutralising morally questionable behaviours and activities when the mechanisms of moral evaluation and disengagement routinely operate in them.

The research findings indicate that environmental risks are perceived to be more important than economic or biological risks and that individuals’ susceptible to moral disengagement are not predestined to delinquency. Findings attest to environmental victimisation, moralistic punishment, and moral surveillance as active factors which risk and crisis leaders must address. The study advanced crisis management literature through analyses of moral disengagement implications in crisis situations and provides empirical evidence that errors in risk perception evaluation can lead to ineffective crisis response and application of failing strategic option when managing crisis. Furthermore, the research also establishes that conventional wisdom which suggests that vandals and militants are inhumane, and that capturing or alienating them will help prevent or reduce future crisis/disaster is ineffective and unsustainable. The implications and limitations of these findings are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-223
Number of pages33
JournalInternational Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters
Issue number3
Early online date28 Feb 2017
Publication statusEarly online - 28 Feb 2017


  • moral disengagement
  • risk perception
  • crisis management
  • militancy and vandalism


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