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NCJ Number: 78105 Find in a Library
Title: Learning To 'Fiddle' Customers - An Essay on the Organized Production of Part-time Theft
Journal: Sociology of Work and Occupations  Volume:4  Issue:4  Dated:(November 1977)  Pages:427-450
Author(s): J Ditton
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 24
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article describes the system of fiddling, or stealing sums of money by overcharging customers, as practiced by bread sales personnel in England during 1973, the practice, is shown to be a response to managerial socialization during training.
Abstract: Because the sales department is organizationally obliged to make a profit, but the sales management are convinced that the processes of converting bread into money are prone to inevitable losses, the sales department actually requires its employees to fiddle customers and return fiddled income to the firm. Since this practice removes their accountability for errors through wage deductions, salesmen tend to remain with the firm, reducing labor turnover. The recruitment procedures are aimed at retaining those who are open to special training in dishonesty without being previously dishonest. Training procedures introduce fiddling in stages through moral intimidation. Of course, training in fiddling from customers usually leads at some point to some type of fiddling from the company, but even this behavior is not discouraged if kept to a small scale. Thus, the socialization of the bread sales personnel runs counter to the conventionally assumed nature of employee theft (i.e., employees rooking the organization which employs them or taking advantage of managerial laxity and tolerance to covertly steal from customers). Four notes and a list of 22 references follow the text.
Index Term(s): Employee theft; Employer attitudes; Employer-employee relations; England; Personnel selection; Theft offenses
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