Authors: Albert Harris
The paper contends that two insurgencies, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Chechen resistance, decided to mount a stand at Kilinochchi in Sri Lanka, and Grozny in Chechnya, because they preferred to accept the risk of losing the battles, (rather than choosing to abandon the two sites respectively) and potentially losing the war, on the chance they could win the respective battles and turn the tide of the civil war generally. In terms of prospect theory, the two insurgencies underweighted the high probability of losing the respective battles. The insurgency leaderships made their respective risky decisions in part based on high confidence in insurgent cohesiveness derived from the commitment to task component of the cohesiveness-performance effect. The two insurgencies demonstrated the prevalence of risk seeking in choices between probable and sure losses.
Keywords: insurgency, endowment, commitment, cohesion