International terrorism and threats to security

Ronald J. Burke (Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, Canada)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Publication date: 1 December 2005



The purpose of this paper is to review research findings on the effects of a variety of disasters, including the events of 9/11, on the general public and members of organizations.


A literature search was undertaken. Three areas were targeted: impact on public attitudes and morale, on organizations and human resource management, and on organizational resilience.


Four conclusions were drawn. First, disasters such as 9/11 have immediate negative effects on emotions and behaviors. Second, with the passage of time these effects dissipate for most people. Third, organizations directly affected by 9/11 immediately stopped functioning. Fourth, fortunately many of these firms bounced back surprisingly quickly.

Research limitations/implications

Relatively little research has been conducted on the effects of 9/11, limiting our understanding of it.

Practical implications

The people in these resilient firms, those more directly affected by the terrorist attacks, made the difference. Human resource management practices and cultural values already in place were the key factors in bringing about a speedy recovery. These factors can also be developed in other organizations as a precaution.


This paper explores important yet still under‐researched areas of management and organizational responses to terrorism.



Burke, R. (2005), "International terrorism and threats to security", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 14 No. 5, pp. 639-643.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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