Projects of the Research Group
PhD projects within the Research Group focus on different aspects of terrorist organisations’ learning and cover different levels of the framework-dimensions accordingly. Find below short descriptions as well as illustrations delineating the scope of the various projects.
Recruitment of Foreign Fighters to Violent Islamist Groups/Organisations
Recruitment of foreign fighters has been crucial to the survival and development of violent Islamist groups/organisations in a dynamic environment. This can be seen from the exponential upsurge in recruitment since the beginning of the 21st century following the 9/11 events. Islamist militant groups have been operating and developing in a context of an increasing number of conflicts worldwide. Adaptation to a new global environment and improved recruitment strategies have helped them to endure and enhance their capacity, to carry forward their activities, and to increase the number of their followers.
This research project examines recruitment of foreign fighters to violent Islamist groups/organisations carried out in different contexts (environments). The main research focus is 1) on the methods of recruitment and 2) on the motivations of individuals to join these entities. Theoretically, this touches upon the meso (group/organisational) and micro (individual) levels of analysis. Specifically, this study addresses how violent Islamist entities recruit individuals from different environments and why individuals enter these groups/organisations (motivating factors). The project aims to explore the cases of foreign fighters’ recruitment from Central Asia and Western Europe. These two regions show that the flow of foreign fighters to violent Islamist groups/organisations has become a problem for different countries regardless of their social, economic, and political levels of development.
Collective Action Problems in the Syrian Conflict
My PhD project seeks to find answers to the crucial questions of how groups form, hold together, and convince their members to risk their lives for the sake of the groups' goals. It investigates how an insurgency is maintained, once it has been started, and why success is spread unevenly across rebel groups (and regimes). Focusing on the key factor of organisational entrepreneurship, the ongoing Syrian conflict serves as the empirical backdrop for analysing these questions. The project is thus mainly concerned with strategic, operational and tactical learning processes on the micro and meso level.
Decision-making in Insurgent Organisations
This research project will focus on the adoption and decision-making processes violent groups undergo when faced with a tactical innovation. Using the case of suicide bombings, this project aims to discover the internal organisational dynamics underlying the decision to adopt or reject the new technique. With regard to the overall framework of the research group, this project looks at tactical and organisational learning by emulation and competition and is thus situated on the micro and meso level of analysis.