Leaders of violent extremist organizations (VEOs) have competing demands that shape their decision making. In this chapter, we discuss the findings from a longitudinal study of VEO leaders whose cognition is shaped by the need for adherence to an overarching ideology, but also goals of organizational survival and the pursuit of personal power within their group. Adhering to an ideology creates an environment that is the frame for decisions and is also the lens through which followers receive the decisions. Additionally, because of the inherent risks to VEOs, the leaders of these groups often lead an organization that is in flux and crisis; these organizational and personal threats can drive decisions that are counter to ideological and group maintenance goals. We outline a model that can be used to understand VEO leader decision making, and we delineate the congruent and counter valence forces that may provide planners and operators openings for prediction and influence.
Ligon, Gina S. and Douglas C. Derrick. 2015. "VEO Level Decision Making." SMA White Paper: The Science of Decision Making Across the Span of Human Activity (May): 47-58. http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/Documents/college-social-sciences/government-society/iccs/policy/decisions-across-span-human-activity.pdf