Sociology Index


Organized Crime, Blue-collar Crime, Pink-collar Crime

Organizational crime is white-collar crime committed with the support and encouragement of a formal organization and intended at least in part to advance the goals of that organization. The distinction between organizational crime and occupational crime is difficult to maintain. Growing interest in organizational crime and corporate crime has been matched by increasing interest in organizational culture.

The number and influence of organizations increased dramatically during the 20th century. This  explains why the problem of organizational crime has received attention from investigators. While organizational entities cannot be sent to prison, they can be heavily fined, ordered to make restitution, placed on probation, forced to forfeit property, suffer public and stakeholder recriminations, and can be forced out of business.

Cultural explanation and organizational crime 
Journal Crime, Law and Social Change, Volume 37, Number 1 / January, 2002, Neal Shover, Department of Sociology, University of Tennessee. Andy Hochstetler, Iowa State University, USA.

Organizational crime has received attention from investigators. Growing interest in organizational crime and corporate crime has been matched by interest in organizational culture. Variation in organizational culture is employed to explain many aspects of organizational performance, from effectiveness in goal attainment to criminal conduct. There are reasons, however, to be critical of theoretical constructions and empirical investigations of organizational culture. The influence of hierarchy and agency as constraints on organizational culture has received insufficient attention. We interpret the appeal of organizational culture despite the absence of demonstrated predictive value, and we call for additional research on sources of variation in organizational crime.

Criminological theory and organizational crime - Braithwaite, John
Source: Justice Quarterly, Volume 6, Number 3, September 1989, pp. 333-358(26)
Abstract: To understand the circumstances that lead to organizational crime, we need to consider the insights of strain theories on the distribution of legitimate and illegitimate opportunities, of labeling theory on the way stigmatization can foster criminal subculture formation, of subcultural theory as applied to organized business subcultures of resistance to regulation, and of social control theory. It is contended that an integration of these perspectives into a theory of organizational crime is possible; a continuity can be established with the mainstream traditions of criminological theory in the domain of organizational crime.

Rethinking organizational crime and organizational criminology - Lippens R.
Source: Crime, Law and Social Change, Volume 35, Number 4, June 2001, pp. 319-331(13)
Abstract: Organizational crime and organizational criminology, obviously, are, or should be about "organization''. New forms, and new modalities of organizational morality are taking shape. So is organizational regulation. This, as will hopefully become clear, is of importance to organizational criminologists who, inevitably, though often implicitly, have been researching and writing about organizational or business ethics and morality for some time now. This essay suggests an alternative way of conceptualizing life and regulation in contemporary organizations.

Developing the Process Model of Collective Corruption 
Donald Palmer, Michael W. Maher, University of California, Davis 
Journal of Management Inquiry, Vol. 15, No. 4, 363-370 (2006)
There are two explanations of organizational crime. The dominant one assumes that people make discrete decisions and develop positive dispositions to engage in crime before embarking on criminal behavior. An emerging alternative assumes that people often embark on criminal behavior through a process and without first developing positive dispositions. The authors review the dominant explanation of organizational crime, delve into its two main variants, and provide examples of each.

The Origins and Development of the Concept and Theory of State-Corporate Crime 
Ronald C. Kramer, Raymond J. Michalowski, David Kauzlarich 
Crime & Delinquency, Vol. 48, No. 2, 263-282 (2002)
The important contributions made by Richard Quinney to the study of corporate crime and the sociology of law, crime, and justice have influenced the development of the concept of state-corporate crime. This concept has been advanced to examine how corporations and governments intersect to produce social harm. State-corporate crime is defined as criminal acts that occur when one or more institutions of political governance pursue a goal in direct cooperation with one or more institutions of economic production and distribution. The creation of this concept has directed attention to a neglected form of organizational crime and inspired numerous empirical evidence studies and theoretical refinements.

Organizational Crime, Auditors and Liberal Government - Philip D. Bougen 
Editor(s): John Carrier ; Stephen Savage - Journal: International Journal of the Sociology of Law Volume:28 Issue:1 Dated:March 2000 Pages:69 to 82
This paper has three themes, circumstances under which organizational crime is committed and measures designed to prevent it, role and responsibilities of company auditors in preventing organizational crime, and the practices of liberal government in Ireland with respect to organizational crime. 
Abstract: Organizational crime often comes to the forefront of public attention in the aftermath of the disclosure of a spectacular case of corporate crime, as politicians and regulators examine the details and consider appropriate responses. An example of organizational crime in Ireland is presented that demonstrates the need for legislators to assess alternative responses to control corporate crime and to look beyond specific details of the particular case to more general economic and regulatory structures that created the opportunity for the perpetration of corporate crime. In considering organizational crime as an illustration of the failure of liberal government, the author suggests more detailed analysis of the intricacies of this failure can help to explain possible contributions of law to the functioning of liberal government.

Corporate Crime - An Organizational Perspective (From White-Collar and Economic Crime, P 75-94, 1982, Peter Wickman and Timothy Dailey, R C Kramer 
Sponsoring Agency: Western Michigan University, Faculty Research Fund, United States 
Organizational goals, organizational structure, and organizational environment are the major organizational factors that influence the commission of corporate crimes. 
Abstract: Corporate crime is the illegal or socially harmful behavior that results from deliberate decisionmaking by corporate executives in accordance with the operative goals of their organizations. Previous theory and research on corporate crime, with its focus on social-psychological learning processes involving corporate executives, has suffered from an individualistic bias. Since corporate crime is organizational crime, its explanation calls for an organizational level of analysis. An analysis of corporate crime must begin with an examination of the nature of organizational goals and their consequences for organizational behavior. It is hypothesized that organizations, as arrangements committed to goal attainment, will engage in criminal behavior if they encounter serious diffculties in attaining their goals, especially profit goals. Product-characteristic goals may also help to shape the decisionmaking process that leads to corporate criminal acts. Further, an analysis of corporate crime must include an examination of the nature of the internal structure of the organization and the influence of this structure on organizational behavior.

On the Relationship between Organized and White-Collar Crime: Government, Business and Criminal Enterprise in Post-Communist Russia 
Journal European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, ISSN 0928-9569 (Print) 1571-8174 (Online), Subject Humanities, Social Sciences and Law, Issue Volume 8, Number 4 / April, 2000, J. Gerber, College of Criminal Justice, Sam Houston State University. ABSTRACT. Analyzes the emergence of a new form of crime in organizational crime involved the pursuit of legitimate business objectives.

Organizational Crime: Two Models of Criminogenesis
Martin L. Needleman1 Carolyn Needleman
The Sociological Quarterly, Volume 20 Issue 4 Page 517 - September 1979
Sociological interest in the "criminogenic" features of organizational structure has tended to focus on crime-coercive corporate systems that compel their members to commit illegal acts as the price of successful system membership. Our purpose is to alert researchers to another variety of organizational criminogenesis, not equally likely to be noticed and studied: the crime-facilitative system. Using the securities industry as an illustration, we review some elements we feel may be characteristic of crime-facilitative systems, and suggest some directions for further investigation. To yield a coherent and testable theory of organizational crime, research in this area now needs to move beyond simple identification of corporate criminogenesis, and on to specification of the conditions under which various types of criminogenesis are likely to occur.

BREAKING CONFIDENCES - Organizational Influences on Insider Trading - Nancy Reichman - The Sociological Quarterly, Volume 30 Issue 2 Page 185 - June 1989
This article develops a framework for understanding violations that undermine the fragile foundation of trust in contemporary markets. The recent cases of insider trading on Wall Street are used as illustration. Opportunities for abusing trust are generally kept in check by a mixture of formal and informal controls. The article suggests conditions when such controls are most likely to lose their effect. When pressures to compete increase, when money assumes more significance than position, and when roles and relationships are not clearly defined, opportunities become accentuated and rationalizations supporting criminal activity become more attractive to those entrusted with privileged information. The article ends with questions about the possibilities for fiduciary relationships in capitalist markets.

THE SAVINGS AND LOAN DEBACLE, FINANCIAL CRIME, AND THE STATE - Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 23: 19-38 (Volume publication date August 1997) K. Calavita - Department of Criminology, Law and Society, University of California, Irvine, California 92697 
R. Tillman - Department of Sociology, St. John's University, Jamaica, New York.
H. N. Pontell - Department of Criminology, Law and Society, University of California, Irvine, California 92697 
Abstract: The savings and loan crisis of the 1980s was one of the worst financial disasters of the twentieth century. We argue here that much financial fraud of the sort that contributed to this debacle constitutes "collective embezzlement," and that this collective embezzlement may be the prototypical corporate crime of the late twentieth century. We further argue that the state may have a different relationship to this kind of financial fraud than to manufacturing crime perpetrated on behalf of corporate profits. In the conclusion, we suggest that an understanding of the relationship between financial fraud and state interests may open up new regulatory space for the control of these costly crimes.

Thesis directed by: Professor Sally Simpson, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Many theorists disagree entirely with the general theory’s view of white-collar crime. Rather than self-control explaining all types of white-collar crime, critics claim that some forms of white-collar crime, such as organizational crime, are better explained by differences in corporate or organizational norms and values. This theoretical explanation holds that some corporate cultures promote criminal activity as an acceptable practice. Yeager & Reed (1998) provide evidence that organizational crimes are based more on normative influences (culture) than impulsive ones (self-control). Herbert, Green, & Larragoite (1998) agree that norms of offending in corporate culture and 16 business practices encourage white-collar crime as a means to raise profits or increase competitiveness. They found a high (66%) rate of willingness to engage in corporate crime, contrary to Gottffedson and Hirschi’s belief that white-collar offending would be relatively rare. Wright and Cullen, (2000) used a juvenile sample to better understand occupational crime. They found that occupational crime and delinquency was related both to internal factors mediating criminal propensities as well as to external factors such as interaction with other delinquents.

Organizational crime and organizational criminology.