Hide and don’t seek: analyzing strategies for concealing organizations and their members

Craig R. Scott, Surabhi Sahay

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Although the contemporary landscape is filled with organizations promoting their identity to various audiences, we know very little about how a different set of collectives purposely conceal themselves (e.g., anonymous support groups, secret societies, covert military units, terrorist organizations). In this study, we qualitatively analyzed concealment strategies used by 12 hidden organizations as they attempt to hide themselves and their members to achieve various goals. We found both organizations and their members use a variety of communicative strategies to conceal themselves, which we label administrative, partial concealment, complete concealment, deception, moving target (organization only), and membership exit (individual member only). These findings have implications for hidden organizations and those who wish to reveal them; furthermore, they add to our understanding of the role of communication in concealing and revealing organizational identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-148
Number of pages18
JournalAtlantic Journal of Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 27 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication


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