After the Paris terror attacks of November 2015, where 130 innocent lives were taken, few companies came through as a source of light in the darkness. In this situation of emergency, many cell phone network companies overlooked the service fees to let people communicate with their loved ones. For example, an act of kindness was shown by AirBnb as well when they asked their hosts to let people who have missed their flights to allow free housing.
However, this act of kindness is not always valid for every situation of emergency. A professor of Northeastern University, Max Abrahms, presents his notion that not all companies come up with such acts of kindness during situations of emergency. They often tend to lend a hand in such circumstances when they are not the target of terrorism themselves.
Studies have discovered the behavioural pattern of various companies in situations of emergency. Their reaction varies in two different stages: firstly, when the target is the government or the communities and secondly, when the target are the companies themselves. For the former, the companies feel a sense of bond and belongingness and feel that they should contribute to fill up the blank space left by the devastating incident. For the latter, they are too concerned about their own well-being to lend a thought about others.
As Ian Thomsen records Abrahms stating, when the business itself becomes the target of terrorist organisations like in the case of terrorist attacks in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Pakistan, etc. the terror attacks become more violent. In such cases of terrorism, the best way the companies react is by retreating from doing any act of social welfare.
Abrahms, a professor of political science specialising in terrorism, correctly states, “And that’s the key takeaway, those companies behave as self-interested actors on the question of whether to help society rebound after a terrorist attack.”
This research was performed on the basis of the data collected by United Nations Global Impact Initiative where it was found that between the years 2004 to 2014, more than 12,000 companies have contributed to 103 countries for terror attacks. The researchers themselves are surprised to find such huge supporting data in so many countries across the globe.