How international businesses cope with terrorism

by Susanna W. Purnell

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This paper, which was originally presented to the Kansas City International Trade Club, November 20, 1986, addresses four issues: (1) why and where terrorists attack businesses, (2) the strategies that American firms have used to counter threats of terrorism, (3) the costs to companies of both terrorist attacks and the responses, and (4) the hostage experience. The author describes four general strategies that companies have developed for dealing with terrorist threats, including the institution of security programs, the promotion of management styles and personnel policies tailored to the risks, dealing with the terrorists themselves, and reducing or hedging the assets at risk. The author points out that most terrorism is episodic, and U.S. corporations have maintained their overseas operations long after the terrorist groups threatening them have gone.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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