Chapter 24 Future Research on and Preparation for Terrorism – In Search for the Soul of International Business

CHAPTER 24

Future Research on and Preparation for Terrorism

(With Valbona Zeneli and Gary Knight)

Concluding this series of our research findings, here are future directions for investigating terrorism and international marketing. Like the legs of a sturdy stool, there are three priority areas: the firm’s value chains, its rapidity of recognizing threats, and its preparedness with responses to terrorist events.

Marketing in emerging economies searches for the most effective operations to reduce the impact of terrorism, to decrease the response time to terrorism, and to avoid market failures.

It is important to create business models that minimize interference and disruption. For example, hamburgers do not have to be distributed through burger palaces but can reach customers through outside vacuum tubes. Suppliers don’t all have to come only from a few nations but can be sourced from a wide diversity of countries.

Financial efficiency must now be traded off with robustness and a cushion against disruption. The balance of benefits and costs needs to be understood: just how much does it cost to increase protection by one percent. What risks are worth taking? What are heuristic spinoff effects of traditional models, and do they need to be revisited? The new aim must be the monetization of alternative terror responsive strategies that improve performance under risky conditions. Real options theory can focus on risk uncertainty and emphasize creating and then exercising the now appropriately understood options.

Research must conceptualize and communicate the exposures of proposed investment projects. Apart from the investment benefits, one should also rate an investment for its tie-down effects expressed by the viability and cost to withdraw an investment once it has been made and the restrictive effect on strategic directions. For example, since the choice of investment locale will determine the climate in which one operates there may well be an impact on the use of car or building paint selection. Also worth examining is exogenous uncertainty in international markets that lies beyond managerial control. International marketers need flexibility for unexpected market developments. Financial options theory can help measure and quantify the effect of such management versatility.

Systems theory lets managers examine the threat and vulnerability exposures of the firm. The interdependence of networks of firms, affiliates, and agents within larger systems require examination together with how individuals relate to and interface with other actors in the socio-political sphere of interest. A systems perspective reduces the risk for management to underspecify marketing parameters. It becomes easier to understand and respond to the geopolitical environment, terrorism networks, and newly recognized sources of risk in business systems themselves, with a focus on the vulnerability of specific network nodes.

Future research should differentiate the effects of terrorism on services industries. Some aspects of services, particularly for international markets, may vary substantially from those of traditional goods. We investigated the effects of terrorism on the international operations of manufacturing firms. By comparison, firms in the services sector are often more vulnerable to terrorism. Substantially affected industries include airlines, transportation, and hospitality, as well as banks, insurance firms, and other financial actors. Most service-providing firms enter foreign markets via FDI. Services are growing in importance. They represent the fastest growing sector in international business and usually constitute the largest proportion of economic activity in advanced economies and emerging markets.

Assuring service resilience by both an industry as well as an individual person is therefore crucial and imperative for the viability of business under the threat of terrorism.