Effects of Cultural Collectivism on Terrorism Favorability

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Cultural orientation has long been known to play a substantial role in the decisions individuals make on a range of subjects. This research proposes that participation in acts defined as "terrorism" is strongly correlated to an individual's cultural orientation to collective values. Drawing upon Geehrt Hofstede's extensive work on culture, collectivism describes integration into strong, cohesive in-groups which offer protection in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. Considering the overlap between this cultural perspective and the motivations for participation in terrorism, we hypothesize that acts of terrorism will be more prevalent in cultures Hofstede identifies as highly collective. Utilizing the Worldwide Incidents Tracking System (WITS), we identified events where the nationality of perpetrators was known. A correlation analysis with Hofstede's measure of national collective culture was conducted. Given the inconsistent results generated by militaristic and invasive counter-terrorism strategies, an emphasis on creating programs for collective cultures that are locally appropriate is suggested. Limitations and implications of the study are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-40
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Applied Security Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Terrorism
  • culture


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