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Unity of purpose/unity of effort: private‐sector preparedness in times of terror

Mark P. Alavosius (Department of Psychology, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA)
Ramona Houmanfar (Department of Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, USA)
Nischal J. Rodriquez (Department of Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, USA)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 1 December 2005




The purpose of this paper is to consider the analysis of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks provided by the US National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the USA from the points of view of behavior analysis and systems analysis. The 9/11 Commission provides a detailed and provocative account of the structural flaws in the US security systems that enabled the 9/11 terrorists to completely subvert efforts to detect and prevent their attack. This paper considers the role of private‐sector organizations in prevention of future attacks.


This conceptual/theoretical paper explores how understanding verbal networks and the nature of verbal rules might contribute to understanding the issues involved in re‐engineering work cultures in the face of continued terrorist threats.


An understanding of verbal networks and ambiguous communications aids the re‐design of management systems and emergency response processes so that adaptive organizational responses to terrorist threats are enabled.


Private‐sector leaders might conduct behavioral systems analyses and probe the limitations of their operations and seek to detect weak points and create contingencies that sustain more effective security and emergency response repertoires.



Alavosius, M.P., Houmanfar, R. and Rodriquez, N.J. (2005), "Unity of purpose/unity of effort: private‐sector preparedness in times of terror", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 14 No. 5, pp. 666-680.



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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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