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Testing the Role Effect in Terrorist Negotiations

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image of International Negotiation

This article examines the effects of role on terrorists' use of power and affiliative strategies in negotiation as a function of terrorist ideology, incident type, and the outcome that is achieved. Data were scores on eight behavioral scales designed to reflect the dynamics of 186 terrorist negotiations, as reported in detailed chronological accounts. Results supported the hypothesized one-down effect with terrorists' use of power-oriented strategies complemented by authority's use of affiliation-oriented strategies. The extent to which terrorists used aggressive strategies was related to the resolution of the incident, with attenuated outcomes more likely for those using more aggressive strategies. These dynamics differed across incident type, with aerial hijackings involving more overt power strategies than barricade-siege incidents, which were more likely to involve bargaining for certain outcomes. Finally, terrorist ideology and the associated identity concerns magnified the one-down effect, with religious fundamentalists engaging in more violence and less compromising strategies than terrorists with other ideological backgrounds.


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