skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 228570 Find in a Library
Title: Overcoming Moral Hurdles: Using Techniques of Neutralization by White-Collar Suspects as an Interrogation Tool
Journal: Security Journal  Volume:22  Issue:4  Dated:October 2009  Pages:317-330
Author(s): Scott M. Kieffer; John J. Sloan III
Date Published: October 2009
Page Count: 14
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined how techniques of neutralization were used by white-collar offenders to justify their behavior and minimize the guilt associated with engaging in illegal activity.
Abstract: Sykes and Matza's (1957, 2003) theory of neutralization describes five major techniques used by juvenile delinquents to neutralize their deviant behavior: denial of responsibility, denial of injury, denial of victim, condemnation of the condemners, and appeal to higher loyalties. It is also asserted that these techniques of neutralization were not developed by delinquents in a vacuum, but they were learned and adapted through interactions with others. This study suggests and discusses that these same general categories of neutralization can also be used to categorize neutralizations employed by white-collar offenders. White-collar crime is both a serious and complex problem. It is important for investigators, security specialists, business managers, and other professionals to understand motivations behind how and why individuals participate in such behaviors. The neutralization theory provides a compelling framework to better understand why individuals engage in white-collar crime - specifically, neutralizations were developed to overcome moral hurdles to engaging in illegal behavior. It is suggested that a careful reading of Sykes and Matza's neutralization theory could help develop such tools and make progress in the long-standing fight against white-collar offending. Figure and references
Main Term(s): White collar offenders
Index Term(s): Criminal investigation training; Interview and interrogation; Investigative techniques; Neutralization theory; Psychological theories; Suspect interrogation; White collar crime; White collar crime investigation training
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.