The danger in over‐reacting to terrorism

Henry W. Fischer III (Center For Disaster Research and Education, Millersville University of Pennsylvania, Millersville, Pennsylvania, USA)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Publication date: 1 December 2005



The purpose of this paper is to extend the earlier application of the behavioral response model which analyzed the behavioral response to September 11, 2001, to analyzing the organizational response of the US Federal Government during the ensuing years.


Qualitative methodology is used in which the organizational response is assessed to determine if that which has been observed parallels organizational chaos typical in natural disasters.


Findings suggest the literature applicable to behavioral and organizational response to natural disasters is quite appropriate to describing the post “September 11” actions of the USA.

Research limitations/implications

The argument presented suggests that the organizational response was typically chaotic and is counter‐productive in defeating the long‐term goals of the terrorists. While the author extends the application of the behavioral and organizational response model to the policy decisions of the US Government, some may debate his conclusion.

Practical implications

Government decision makers should consider the implications of the observations shared in the paper to avoid taking the same, perhaps failed, road in the future.


The new territory offered herein, is the application of the behavioral and organizational response model to public policy making by high government officials in the USA – analysis of organizational response issues at the highest level of government organization.



Fischer, H. (2005), "The danger in over‐reacting to terrorism", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 14 No. 5, pp. 657-665.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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