Behavioural Conflict, Andrew Mackay and Steve Tatham

‘Behavioural Conflict; Why understanding people and their motives will prove decisive in future conflict’ was written by Andrew Mackay and Steve Tatham. The BDI’s Lee Rowland is proud to have been asked to write a chapter on the science of influence as part of this important book, that is widely talked about as an important first step in a much needed shift in thinking about both the importance and ways of conducting Influence in future operations.

About the book

Whilst geopolitics, economics, religion and ethnicity all play crucial roles in starting and sustaining conflict this book advances the idea that it will be people’s behaviour, and the West’s ability to understand, interpret and influence that behaviour which will become the defining characteristic of resolving future armed disputes. This seminal and very readable study draws directly on the authors operational experiences in Sierra Leone, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan.

About the Authors

The book has been written by Major General Andrew Mackay and Commander Steve Tatham, and includes a chapter by BDI behavioural scientist Dr Lee Rowland, and an introduction by the BBC Radio 4 ‘More or Less’ presenter Tim Harford. The foreword is by former ISAF commander General (ret.) Stanley McChrystal.


The book has received exceptionally positive reviews in the media and on the British Army Rumour Service Website, where the volume of comments is testament to the need for a better way of conducting influence. It is compulsory reading for candidates on the US Army Information Operations Qualifications Course, and has been used as a manual and a jumping-off point for debate in numerous other military training courses.

The book has a dedicated website here, as well as a blog providing the latest news on the book’s impact and commenting on behavioural change and influence in the media.

Behavioural Conflict cover, Tatham and Mackay

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The Behavioural Dynamics Institute (BDI) was founded in 1989 and was formed out of the Behavioural Dynamics Working Group. Read more