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NCJ Number: 50796 Find in a Library
Title: WHITE COLLAR CRIMINALS
Journal: JOURNAL OF SOCIAL ISSUES  Volume:33  Issue:4  Dated:(1977)  Pages:179-196
Author(s): E STOTLAND
Corporate Author: Soc for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: Soc for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
Ann Arbor, MI 48106
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A PRELIMINARY PSYCHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS CONSIDERS WHITE COLLAR CRIME AS A CAUSE OF STREET CRIME; MOTIVES OF WHITE COLLAR CRIMINALS AND THE FAILURE OF SOCIETAL RESTRAINTS ARE EXAMINED IN A SOCIAL CONTEXT.
Abstract: WHITE COLLAR CRIME, WHICH IS A GENERIC TERM FOR ALL FORMS OF CRIMINAL MISUSE OF TRUST, CREATES GREAT PROBLEMS OF ECONOMIC, POLITICAL, AND MORAL DAMAGE TO ALL SEGMENTS OF AMERICAN SOCIETY, AND HELPS TO SUSTAIN COMMON OR STREET CRIME. PREVIOUS ATTEMPTS TO CLASSIFY WHITE COLLAR CRIME BY CRIME DESCRIPTION HAVE BEEN DIFFICULT BECAUSE NEW FORMS ARE CONSTANTLY SURFACING; HOWEVER, A PSYCHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS DESCRIBES THE SOCIAL CONTEXTS IN WHICH WHITE COLLAR CRIME OCCURS: (1) PERSONS COMMITTING CRIMES ON THEIR OWN--E.G., TAX FRAUDS, CREDIT CARD FRAUDS, AND INSURANCE FRAUDS; (2) VIOLATION OF RESPONSIBILITY TO THEIR EMPLOYER BY MEMBERS OF AN ORGANIZATION OR BUSINESS; (3) CRIMES THAT ARE INCIDENTAL TO BUSINESS OPERATIONS; AND (4) WHITE COLLAR CRIME AS THE BUSINESS'S CENTRAL ACTIVITY. SINCE KNOWLEDGE OF CRIME CAUSES IS REQUIRED TO ALLEVIATE THEM, THE FOLLOWING CONSIDERATIONS OF CRIMINALS' MOTIVES IS ESSENTIAL: THE INCENTIVE OF MONEY BASED UPON THE PERCEPTION OF RELATIVE DEPRIVATION, A THREAT TO GOAL ATTAINMENT, A SENSE OF SUPERIORITY, THE EGO FUNCTION PERCEIVING THESE CRIMINALLY OFFENSIVE ACTS AS MASTERY OF DESIRABLE SKILLS, THE CONCEPT OF BENEFITTING THE VICTIM, AND GROUP FORCE INFLUENCE. FACTORS LESSENING THE RESTRAINTS ON THE COMMISSION OF CRIMES ARE EXAMINED. MORAL AMBIGUITY IS APPARENT IN THE BELIEF THAT OTHERS ARE DOING THE SAME THING, AND A FORMERLY ACCEPTABLE BUSINESS PRACTICE MAY BECOME A CRIMINAL ACT BY TODAY'S LAWS. THE DETERRENT VALUE OF PUNISHMENT CAN BE LESSENED BY LIGHT SENTENCING, THOUGH THE SHOCK OF AN ARREST CAN PREVENT A NEW CRIMINAL'S RECIDIVISM. THE LARCENOUS NATURE OF THE VICTIMS THEMSELVES IS ALSO USED AS A JUSTIFICATION FOR FRAUD. THE IMPERSONAL VICTIM, SUCH AS A HUGE ORGANIZATION, WEAKENS RESTRAINTS ON WHITE COLLAR CRIMINALS. WHITE COLLAR CRIMINALS OFTEN BELIEVE IN THEIR OWN BENEFICENCE. FURTHER RESEARCH ON THIS PRELIMINARY PSYCHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS IS ENCOURAGED SO AS TO HELP IN EFFORTS TO REDUCE WHITE COLLAR CRIME. TABULAR AND GRAPHIC DATA ARE NOT PROVIDED. REFERENCE NOTES ARE INCLUDED.
Index Term(s): Abuse of authority; Behavior patterns; Behavioral and Social Sciences; Business crime costs; Fraud; Psychology; Retail business crimes; White collar crime
Note: ADDRESS PRESENTED AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE SOCIETY FOR THE PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDY OF SOCIAL ISSUES, DIVISION OF THE AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, AUGUST 1977
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50796

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