Airports at risk: The impact of information sources on security decisions

Alan Avi Kirschenbaum, Michele Mariani, Coen van Gulijk, Carmit Rapaport, Sharon Lubasz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Security decisions in high risk organizations such as airports involve obtaining ongoing and frequent information about potential threats. Utilizing questionnaire survey data from a sample of airport employees in European Airports across the continent, we analyzed how both formal and informal sources of security information affect employee's decisions to comply with the security rules and directives. This led us to trace information network flows to assess its impact on the degree employees making security decisions comply or deviate with the prescribed security rules. The results of the multivariate analysis showed that security information obtained through formal and informal networks differentially determine if employees will comply or not with the rules. Information sources emanating from the informal network tends to encourage employees to be more flexible in their security decisions while formal sources lead them to be more rigid with complying with rules and protocols. These results suggest that alongside the formal administrative structure of airports, there exists a diverse and pervasiveness set of informal communications networks that are a potent factor in determining airport security levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-197
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Transportation Security
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgement This research was supported with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of the BEMOSA Consortium, a project within the Seventh Programme and co-funded by the European Union (Grant Agreement 234049), and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.


  • Airports
  • Information Sources
  • Security Decisions
  • Social Networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Law


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