How Can Organization Theory Help Explain the Emergence of ISIL?

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28852073782_27d6f4e78c_zThe emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in recent years has been a cause for concern across the globe, particularly as the terrorist group becomes not only more organized, but also more prominent. Analyzing the rise of ISIL, many researchers are unsure of what the future holds for ISIL, and how much longer the group can remain cohesive, especially in the face of opposition by many different groups. In a recent article published in Journal of Management Inquiry, authors Tuomas Kuronen and Aki-Mauri Huhtinen approach the issue of ISIL’s development in terms of the theoretical perspective of “rhizome.” Their paper, “Organizing Conflict: The Rhizome of Jihad,” delves into the rise of ISIL, the question of how long ISIL can endure, and how the organization of ISIL compares with Western military organizations. The abstract for the article:

In this essay, we study the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) Current Issue Coverfrom the theoretical perspective of the “rhizome” coined by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. We understand organizing in general and conflict emergence in particular through the becoming of the rhizomatic ontology of organizing. In our view, the emergence of organizing is a manifestation of a rhizomatic basis of things, seen in nomadic strategies of pursuing revolutionary aims and resisting power hegemonies. We discuss how armed resistance groups relate to time and duration, and their stark contrast to Western professional, expeditionary armies operating in a clearly defined space and time. We complement the established philosophical and organizing-theoretical approaches to being and becoming in understanding conflict emergence with the rhizomatic perspective. We conclude our essay by discussing both theoretical and practical implications for understanding and managing conflict.

You can read “Organizing Conflict: The Rhizome of Jihad” from Journal of Management Inquiry free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to keep current on all of the latest research from Journal of Management InquiryClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Soldier image attributed to Kurdishstruggle (CC)

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