Antonio Mutti

The organization of secrecy in intelligence agencies

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Secret; Trust; Organizational Dilemmas; Intelligence; Covert Action.

The sociology of organizations has not sufficiently explored the specific organizational problems of secret societies. The organizations based on concealment (intelligence agencies, organized crime, international terrorism, etc.) are confronted with a series of specific dilemmas difficult to solve. These dilemmas concern mainly: compartmentalization vs. coordination, centralization vs. decentralization of decision-making, effective pursuit of the objectives in conditions of secrecy vs. consensus. Provided solutions to these dilemmas are strongly related to the level of trust present in the organization, more precisely, the level of mutual trust between members of the organization with reference to their ability to keep the secret and with reference to the impermeability of the organizational secret against the external environment. The answers to these dilemmas can produce a plurality of organizational solutions, which in this article are investigated in relation to the specific problems of intelligence agencies.

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