Presentation Title

What Business Leaders Can Learn from Terrorists

Advisor Information

Gina Ligon

Location

Milo Bail Student Center Omaha Room

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

8-3-2013 9:00 AM

End Date

8-3-2013 9:15 AM

Abstract

The study of leadership has a long and rich history. Business leaders in particular have been the focus of much empirical scrutiny, with an attempt to describe and explain who makes the best leaders, what it means to be a good leader, which leadership styles work best in which situations, and so forth. The subordinates of those oft-studied business leaders are typically guided toward positive behaviors that benefit their organizations or society at large in some way. One method for examining effective or best practice leader behaviors is the examination of outstanding leaders, or those who are able to persuade followers to subsume their personal needs into those of the organization. Leaders of violent extremist organizations (e.g., Osama bin Laden) have been masterful at garnering such commitment from followers. Thus, the intent of the present study is to draw lessons that can be learned from examining how such leaders of terrorist organizations motivate their followers to extraordinary ends. After conducting a qualitative review of the literature on terrorist leaders, we have developed a preliminary model of eight leadership behaviors that terrorists engage in to successfully lead groups of heterogeneous individuals toward challenging goals (and with little to no incentive pay to do so). Example behaviors include sharing their vision consistently, delegating and providing autonomy, and engaging in strong othering. Based on that model, we offer insights that business leaders can apply in their own departments and organizations.

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Mar 8th, 9:00 AM Mar 8th, 9:15 AM

What Business Leaders Can Learn from Terrorists

Milo Bail Student Center Omaha Room

The study of leadership has a long and rich history. Business leaders in particular have been the focus of much empirical scrutiny, with an attempt to describe and explain who makes the best leaders, what it means to be a good leader, which leadership styles work best in which situations, and so forth. The subordinates of those oft-studied business leaders are typically guided toward positive behaviors that benefit their organizations or society at large in some way. One method for examining effective or best practice leader behaviors is the examination of outstanding leaders, or those who are able to persuade followers to subsume their personal needs into those of the organization. Leaders of violent extremist organizations (e.g., Osama bin Laden) have been masterful at garnering such commitment from followers. Thus, the intent of the present study is to draw lessons that can be learned from examining how such leaders of terrorist organizations motivate their followers to extraordinary ends. After conducting a qualitative review of the literature on terrorist leaders, we have developed a preliminary model of eight leadership behaviors that terrorists engage in to successfully lead groups of heterogeneous individuals toward challenging goals (and with little to no incentive pay to do so). Example behaviors include sharing their vision consistently, delegating and providing autonomy, and engaging in strong othering. Based on that model, we offer insights that business leaders can apply in their own departments and organizations.