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Encyclopedia > Corporate crime
Criminology and Penology
Differential Association Theory
Labeling Theory
Rational Choice Theory
Social Control Theory
Social Disorganization Theory
Social Learning Theory
Strain Theory
Subcultural Theory
Symbolic Interactionism · Victimology
Types of crimes
Blue-collar crime · Corporate crime
Juvenile crime
Organized crime
Political crime · Public order crime
Public order case law in the U.S.
State crime · State-corporate crime
White-collar crime · Victimless crime
Plaid-collar crime
Deterrence · Prison
Prison reform · Prisoner abuse
Prisoners' rights · Rehabilitation
Recidivism · Retribution
Criminal justice portal
See also: Wikibooks:Social Deviance
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In criminology, corporate crime refers to crimes committed either by a corporation (i.e., a business entity having a separate legal personality from the natural persons that manage its activities), or by individuals that may be identified with a corporation or other business entity (see vicarious liability and corporate liability). Image File history File links Scale_of_justice. ... Criminology is the scientific study of crime as an individual and social phenomenon. ... Penology (from the Latin poena, punishment) comprises penitentiary science: that concerned with the processes devised and adopted for the punishment, repression, and prevention of crime, and the treatment of prisoners. ... Anomie, in contemporary English, means a condition or malaise in individuals, characterized by an absence or diminution of standards or values. ... In criminology, Differential Association is a theory developed by Edwin Sutherland proposing that through interaction with others, individuals learn the values, attitudes, techniques, and motives for criminal behavior. ... For the scholarly journal, see Deviant Behavior (journal). ... It has been suggested that Labelling be merged into this article or section. ... In criminology, the Rational Choice Theory adopts a Utilitarian belief that man is a reasoning actor who weighs means and ends, costs and benefits, and makes a rational choice. ... In criminology, Social Control Theory as represented in the work of Travis Hirschi fits into the Positivist School, Neo-Classical School, and, later, Right Realism. ... In criminology, the Social Disorganization Theory was one of the most important theories developed by the Chicago School, related to ecological theories. ... For the article on social learning theory in psychology and education see social cognitivism. ... In criminology, the Strain Theories state that social structures within society may encourage citizens to commit crime. ... In criminology, Subcultural Theory emerged from the work of the Chicago School on gangs and developed into a set of theories arguing that certain groups or subcultures in society have values and attitudes that are conducive to crime and violence. ... Symbolic interactionism is a sociological perspective which examines how individuals and groups interact, focusing on the creation of personal identity through interaction with others. ... Victimology is the study of why certain people are victims of crime and how lifestyles affect the chances that a certain person will fall victim to a crime. ... In criminology, blue-collar crime is any crime committed by an individual from a lower social class as opposed to white-collar crime which is associated with crime committed by individuals of a higher social class. ... Juvenile delinquency refers to criminal acts performed by juveniles. ... Organized crime or criminal organizations are groups or operations run by criminals, most commonly for the purpose of generating a monetary profit. ... In the standard sense of the phrase, a political crime is an action deemed illegal by a government in order to control real or imagined threats to its survival, at the expense of a range of human rights and freedoms. ... In criminology public order crime is defined by Siegel (2004) as ...crime which involves acts that interfere with the operations of society and the ability of people to function efficiently, i. ... In criminology, public order crime case law in the United States is essential to understanding how the courts interpret the policy of laws where the moral and social order of the state appears to be threatened by clearly identified behavior. ... In criminology, state crime is activity or failures to act that break the states own criminal law or public international law. ... In criminology, the concept of state-corporate crime refers to crimes that result from the relationship between the policies of the state and the policies and practices of commercial corporations. ... Within the field of criminology, white-collar crime or incorporated governance has been defined by Edwin Sutherland ...as a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation. ... Victimless crime has the following applications: A victimless crime is one in which the victim is the accused. ... Although plaid-collar crime (Rural Commodity Theft) isnt a recognised criminal exercise, it has become increasingly evident in the farming communities of the United States. ... Deterrence is a theory of justice whereby the aim of punishment is to prevent or deter future mischief. ... Prison reform is the attempt to improve conditions inside prisons, aiming at a more effective penal system. ... Prisoner abuse is the mistreatment of persons while they are under arrest or incarcerated. ... The movement for Prisoners rights is based on the principle that prisoners, even though they are deprived of liberty, are still entitled to basic human rights. ... This theory of punishment is based on the notion that punishment is to be inflicted on a offender so as to reform him, or rehabilitate him so as to make his re-integration into society easier. ... This article is about recidivism in criminology and penology. ... Retributive justice maintains that proportionate punishment is a morally acceptable response to crime, regardless of whether the punishment causes any tangible benefits. ... This article discusses utilitarian ethical theory. ... Criminology is the scientific study of crime as an individual and social phenomenon. ... For other uses, see Corporation (disambiguation). ... The term business entity refers generally to any organization engaged in business activities, regardless of legal structure. ... In jurisprudence, a natural person is a human being perceptible through the senses and subject to physical laws, as opposed to an artificial or juristic person, i. ... The legal principle of vicarious liability applies to hold one person liable for the actions of another when engaged in some form of joint or collective activity. ... In the criminal law, corporate liability determines the extent to which a corporation as a fictitious person can be liable for the acts and omissions of the natural persons it employs. ...

Corporate crime overlaps with:

  • white-collar crime, because the majority of individuals who may act as or represent the interests of the corporation are employees or professionals of a higher social class;
  • organized crime, because criminals can set up corporations either for the purposes of crime or as vehicles for laundering the proceeds of crime. Organized crime has become a branch of big business and is simply the illegal sector of capital. It has been estimated that, by the middle of the 1990s, the "gross criminal product" of organized crime made it the twentieth richest organization in the world -- richer than 150 sovereign states (Castells 1998: 169). The world’s gross criminal product has been estimated at 20 percent of world trade. (de Brie 2000); and
  • state-corporate crime because, in many contexts, the opportunity to commit crime emerges from the relationship between the corporation and the state.


Within the field of criminology, white-collar crime or incorporated governance has been defined by Edwin Sutherland ...as a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation. ... A profession is an occupation, vocation or career where specialized knowledge of a subject, field, or science is applied. ... Social class refers to the hierarchical distinctions between individuals or groups in societies or cultures. ... Organized crime or criminal organizations are groups or operations run by criminals, most commonly for the purpose of generating a monetary profit. ... Laundering can refer to: Money laundering, disguising the origin of illegally gained wealth Clothes laundering, washing clothes or other textilles. ... In criminology, the concept of state-corporate crime refers to crimes that result from the relationship between the policies of the state and the policies and practices of commercial corporations. ... For other uses, see State (disambiguation). ...

Definitional issues

Legal person

An 1886 decision of the United States Supreme Court, in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad 118 U.S. 394 (1886), has been cited by various courts in the US as precedent to maintain that a corporation can be defined legally as a 'person', as described in the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment stipulates that, Year 1886 (MDCCCLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Sunday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C., (large image) The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States... Santa Clara County v. ... Amendment XIV (the Fourteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution is one of the post-Civil War amendments and includes the due process and equal protection clauses (Section 1). ...

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

In English law, this was matched by the decision in Salomon v Salomon & Co [1897] AC 22. English law is a formal term of art that describes the law for the time being in force in England and Wales. ... Salomon v. ...

This doctrine of corporate personhood has often impeded prosecution of corporate crime by allowing corporations to claim Bill of Rights protections in court, sometimes with success. Corporate personhood is a term used to describe the legal fiction used within United States law that a corporation, under the concept of legal entity, has a limited subset of the same constitutional rights as a human being. ... A bill of rights is a list or summary of rights that are considered important and essential by a group of people. ...

Function of law

History shows that laws have sometimes been used as instruments of repression, exclusion, and marginalization; and that certain criminal justice policies may sometimes be intended to serve the interests of particular groups or to undermine other groups. Thus, the definition of crime and the nature of criminal justice policies in society usually reflect the structures of power in that society. Also, while mainstream criminologists tend to focus mostly on street crimes and crimes of marginalized groups, the less obvious crimes of states, corporate organizations, and powerful groups are often ignored or under-emphasised. Lea (2001) argues that whereas crime used to be the exceptional event, disrupting the otherwise normal socio-economic processes, as crime becomes more frequent it lost its status as an exceptional event and became "a standard, background feature of our lives—a taken for granted element of late modernity." (Garland 1996: 446) A repressed memory, according to some theories of psychology, a memory (often traumatic) of an event or environment which is stored by the unconscious mind but outside the awareness of the conscious mind. ... United States criminal justice system flowchart. ... For other uses, see Society (disambiguation). ... Much of the recent sociological debate on power revolves around the issue of the constraining and/or enabling nature of power. ... Look up Criminologist in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

Policy to enforce the law against corporations

Corporate crime has become politically sensitive in some countries. In the United Kingdom, for example, following a number of fatal disasters on the rail network and at sea, the term is commonly used in reference to corporate manslaughter and to involve a more general discussion about the technological hazards posed by business enterprises (see Wells: 2001). Similar incidents of corporate crime, such as the 1985 Union Carbide accident in Bhopal, India (Pearce & Tombs: 1993) and the behaviour of the pharmaceutical industry (Braithwaite: 1984). Corporate manslaughter is a term in English law for an act of homicide committed by a company. ... Union Carbide Corporation (Union Carbide) is one of the oldest chemical and polymers companies in the United States, and currently has more than 3,800 employees. ... For other uses, see Bhopal (disambiguation). ... Pharmacology (in Greek: pharmacon is drug, and logos is science) is the study of how chemical substances interfere with living systems. ...

The Law Reform Commission of New South Wales offers an explanation of such criminal activities:

"Corporate crime poses a significant threat to the welfare of the community. Given the pervasive presence of corporations in a wide range of activities in our society, and the impact of their actions on a much wider group of people than are affected by individual action, the potential for both economic and physical harm caused by a corporation is great."

Similarly, Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman (1999) assert:

"At one level, corporations develop new technologies and economies of scale. These may serve the economic interests of mass consumers by introducing new products and more efficient methods of mass production. On another level, given the absence of political control today, corporations serve to destroy the foundations of the civic community and the lives of people who reside in them."


What behavior to criminalize

Behavior can be regulated by the civil law (including administrative law) or the criminal law. In deciding to criminalize particular behavior, the legislature is making the political judgment that this behavior is sufficiently culpable to deserve the stigma of being labelled as a crime. In law, corporations can commit the same offences as natural persons. Simpson (2002) avers that this process should be straightforward because a state should simply engage in victimology to identify which behavior causes the most loss and damage to its citizens, and then represent the majority view that justice requires the intervention of the criminal law. But states depend on the business sector to deliver a stable economy, so the politics of regulating the individuals and corporations that supply that stability become more complex. For the views of Marxist criminology, see Snider (1993) and Snider & Pearce (1995), for Left realism, see Pearce & Tombs (1992) and Schulte-Bockholt (2001), and for Right Realism, see Reed & Yeager (1996). More specifically, the historical tradition of sovereign state control of prisons is ending through the process of privatisation. Corporate profitability in these areas therefore depends on building more prison facilities, managing their operations, and selling inmate labor. In turn, this requires a steady stream of prisoners able to work. (Kicenski: 2002) In the common law, civil law refers to the area of law governing relations between private individuals. ... Administrative law in the United States often relates to, or arises from, so-called independent agencies- such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Here is FTCs headquarters in Washington D.C. Administrative law (or regulatory law) is the body of law that arises from the activities of administrative agencies... The term criminal law, sometimes called penal law, refers to any of various bodies of rules in different jurisdictions whose common characteristic is the potential for unique and often severe impositions as punishment for failure to comply. ... A legislature is a type of representative deliberative assembly with the power to adopt laws. ... Culpability descends from the Latin concept of fault (culpa), which is still found today in the phrase mea culpa (literally, my fault). The concept of culpability is intimately tied up with notions of agency, freedom and free will. ... Victimology is the study of why certain people are victims of crime and how lifestyles affect the chances that a certain person will fall victim to a crime. ... The word citizen may refer to: A person with a citizenship Citizen Watch Co. ... This article is about the concept of justice. ... Marxist criminology is one of the schools of criminology. ... Left Realist Criminology emerged out of Critical Criminology as a reaction against what was perceived to be the Lefts failure to take a practical interest in everyday crime, leaving it to the Right Realists to monopolise the political agenda on law and order. ... In criminology, Right Realism (also known as New Right Realism, Neo-Classicism, Neo-Positivism, or Neo-Conservatism) is the ideological polar opposite of Left Realism. ... “Sovereign” redirects here. ... Privatization (sometimes privatisation, denationalization, or — especially in India — disinvestment) is the process of transferring property, from public ownership to private ownership. ...

The majority of crimes are committed because the offender has the 'right opportunity', i.e., where the offender simply sees the chance and thinks that he or she will be able to commit the crime and not be detected. For the most part, greed, rather than conceit, is the motive, and the rationalisation for choosing to break the law usually arises out of a form of contempt for the victim, namely that he, she or it will be powerless to prevent it, and has it coming for some reason. For these purposes, the corporation is the vehicle for the crime. This may be a short-term crime, i.e., the corporation is set up as a shell to open credit trading accounts with manufacturers and wholesalers, trades for a short period of time and then disappears with the revenue and without paying for the inventory. Alternatively and most commonly, the primary purpose of the corporation is as a legitimate business, but criminal activity is secretly intermixed with legal activity to escape detection. To achieve a suitable level of secrecy, senior managers will usually be involved. The explanations and exculpations may therefore centre around rogue individuals who acted outside the organizational structures, or there may be a serious examination of the occupational and organisational structures (often hinged on the socio-economic system, gender, racism and/or age) that facilitated the criminal conduct of a corporation For other uses, see Greed (disambiguation). ... Look up conceit in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Inventory is a list of goods and materials, or those goods and materials themselves, held available in stock by a business. ...

Bribery and corruption are problems in the developed world, and the corruption of public officials is thought to be a primary cause of crime in developing societies, where massive foreign debt often undermines the provision government services. Peèar (1996), in discussing the implications for policing in Eastern Europe as it seeks to adapt its laws to match a capitalist model, points to the difficulty of distinguishing between lack of morality and criminality in economic crimes that tend to emerge from the structural relationships in modern commerce. Bribery is a crime implying a sum or gift given alters the behaviour of the person in ways not consistent with the duties of that person. ... Morality (from the Latin manner, character, proper behaviour) has three principal meanings. ...

What penalties to impose

In part, this will be a function of the public perception of the degrees of socialogy culpability involved. Weissman and Mokhiber (1999) catalog the silence and indifference of the major media in the face of the widespread corporate corruption. Only in part is this justifiable. The news media find it difficult to respond to corporate crime both because reporting may compromise the trial by tainting the jury's perceptions, or because of the danger of defamation proceedings. Further, major corporate crime is often complicated and more difficult to explain to the lay public, as against street or property crimes, which may provide graphic visual evidence of harm to victims injured, or of property that has been damaged or vandalized in spectacular fashion. But, more significantly, the news media are owned by large corporations which may also own prisons. Thus, the political decisions on the resources to allocate to investigate and prosecute will tend to match the electorate's understanding of the dangers posed by 'crime'. In sentencing, the fact that the convicted individuals may have had an impeccable character as presidents, CEOs, chairmen, directors and managers is likely to be a mitigating factor. Culpability (Blameworthiness) is the state of deserving to be blamed for a crime or offence. ... In legal parlance, a trial is an event in which parties to a dispute present information (in the form of evidence) in a formal setting, usually a court, before a judge, jury, or other designated finder of fact, in order to achieve a resolution to their dispute. ... For jury meaning makeshift, see jury rig. ... Slander and Libel redirect here. ... Property crime is a category of crime that includes burglary, larceny, theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, shoplifting, and vandalism. ... For Vandalism on Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Dealing with vandalism Vandalism is an act motivated by hostility to the arts and literature of a culture, or willful destruction or defacement of its built environment, construed to be in the spirit of the Germanic Vandals in their attacks on buildings of the... Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the job of having the ultimate executive responsibility or authority within an organization or corporation. ... The phrase Chairman of the Board has several meanings: Chairman of the Board is the term used to denote the leader of a corporations board of directors. ... Chairman of the Board redirects here. ...

Examples of criminal behavior in most jurisdictions include: insider trading, antitrust violations, fraud (usually involving the consumers), damage to the environment, exploitation of labour in violation of labor and health and safety laws, and the failure to maintain a fiduciary responsibility towards stockholders. Insider trading is the trading of a corporations stock or other securities (e. ... This article is about anti-competitive business behavior. ... Exploitation means many different things. ... Occupational safety and health is the discipline concerned with preserving and protecting human and facility resources in the workplace. ... The court of chancery, which governed fiduciary relations prior to the Judicature Acts The fiduciary duty is a legal relationship between two or more parties, most commonly a fiduciary or trustee and a principal or beneficiary, that in English common law is arguably the most important concept within the portion... A shareholder or stockholder is an individual or company (including a corporation), that legally owns one or more shares of stock in a joint stock company. ...

See also

Accounting scandals, or corporate accounting scandals are political and business scandals which arise with the disclosure of misdeeds by trusted executives of large public corporations. ... Anti-WEF grafiti in Lausanne. ... Business ethics is a form of the art of applied ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business environment. ... Corporate abuse refers to incidents that involve unethical behavior on behalf of a corporation; a case of corporate abuse may be a scandal, fraud, or negligence toward the corporations employees and/or the local community. ... Enron Creditors Recovery Corporation (formerly Enron Corporation) (former NYSE ticker symbol: ENE) was an American energy company based in Houston, Texas. ... Headquarters in Ada, Michigan Amway is a multi-level marketing, or network marketing, company founded in 1959 by Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos. ... Quixtar is a multi-level marketing or network marketing company, founded on September 1, 1999. ... The neutrality of this article is disputed. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Competitive Intelligence. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Financial analysis of an organisation is misleading when it is used to misrepresent the organisation, its situation or its prospects. ... The Corporation is a 2003 Canadian documentary film critical of the modern-day corporation, considering it as a class of person and evaluating its behaviour towards society and the world at large as a psychologist might evaluate an ordinary person. ... This article is about the anarchist comedian. ... Stephen William Bragg (born December 20, 1957), known as Billy Bragg, is an English musician renowned for his blend of folk, punk-rock, and protest music, and his poetic lyrics dealing with political as well as romantic themes. ... CorpWatch (formerly: TRAC Transnational Resource & Action Center) is a research group based in Oakland, California, USA. The group works to foster global justice, independent media activism and democratic control over corporations. ... Founded in 1980 by Ralph Nader, the Multinational Monitor is a monthly magazine (published ten times a year). ...


  • Braithwaite, John. (1984). Corporate Crime in the Pharmaceutical Industry. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Books. ISBN 0-7102-0049-8
  • Castells, Manuel. (1996). The Rise of the Network Society (The Information Age: Economy Society and Culture. volume I.) Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-22140-9
  • Clinard, Marshall B. & Yeager, Peter Cleary. (2005). Corporate Crime. Somerset, NJ: Transaction Publishers. ISBN 1-4128-0493-0
  • de Brie, Christian (2000) ‘Thick as thieves’ Le Monde Diplomatique (April)[1]
  • Ermann, M. David & Lundman, Richard J. (eds.) (2002). Corporate and Governmental Deviance: Problems of Organizational Behavior in Contemporary Society. (6th edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-513529-6
  • Friedrichs, David O. (2002). "Occupational crime, occupational deviance, and workplace crime: Sorting out the difference". Criminal Justice, 2, pp243-256.
  • Garland, David (1996), "The Limits of the Sovereign State: Strategies of Crime Control in Contemporary Society", British Journal of Criminology Vol 36 pp445-471.
  • Gobert, J & Punch, M. (2003). Rethinking Corporate Crime, London: Butterworths. ISBN 0-406-95006-7
  • Kicenski, Karyl K. (2002). The Corporate Prison: The Production of Crime & the Sale of Discipline. [2]
  • Law Reform Commission for New South Wales. Issues Paper 20 (2001) - Sentencing: Corporate Offenders. [3]
  • Lea, John. (2001). Crime as Governance: Reorienting Criminology. [4]
  • Mokhiber, Russell & Weismann, Robert. (1999). Corporate Predators : The Hunt for Mega-Profits and the Attack on Democracy. Common Courage Press. ISBN 1-56751-158-9
  • Pearce, Frank & Tombs, Steven. (1992). "Realism and Corporate Crime", in Issues in Realist Criminology. (R. Matthews & J. Young eds.). London: Sage.
  • Pearce, Frank & Tombs, Steven. (1993). "US Capital versus the Third World: Union Carbide and Bhopal" in Global Crime Connections: Dynamics and Control. (Frank Pearce & Michael Woodiwiss eds.).
  • Peèar, Janez (1996). "Corporate Wrongdoing Policing" College of Police and Security Studies, Slovenia. [5]
  • Reed, Gary E. & Yeager, Peter Cleary. (1996). "Organizational offending and neoclassical criminology: Challenging the reach of a general theory of crime". Criminology, 34, pp357-382.
  • Schulte-Bockholt, A. (2001). "A Neo-Marxist Explanation of Organized Crime". Critical Criminology, 10
  • Simpson, Sally S. (2002). Corporate Crime, Law, and Social Control. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Snider, Laureen. (1993). Bad Business: Corporate Crime in Canada, Toronto: Nelson.
  • Snider, Laureen & Pearce, Frank (eds.). (1995). Corporate Crime: Contemporary Debates, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  • Vaughan, Diane. (1998). "Rational choice, situated action, and the social control of organizations". Law & Society Review, 32, pp23-61.
  • Wells, Celia. (2001). Corporations and Criminal Responsibility (Second Edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-826793-2

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Center for Corporate Policy: Corporate Crime and Abuse (1813 words)
The definition is vague enough to incorporate certain types of corporate crime as well as welfare fraud, thus persuading groups across the political spectrum that it was focused on the most important types of crime.
Rates of White-collar crime are tracked by PWC Global (e.g., see their 2005 report), which reported a rise in fraud between 2003 and 2005.
A publicly-accessible on-line corporate crime database would assist prosecutors, legislators, judges and journalists in their efforts to expose and control corporate crime and identify criminogenic corporations and recidivist lawbreakers.
corporate crime: Information from Answers.com (1687 words)
Also, while mainstream criminologists tend to focus mostly on street crimes and crimes of marginalised groups, the less obvious crimes of states, corporate organisations, and powerful groups are often ignored or under-emphasised.
Given the pervasive presence of corporations in a wide range of activities in our society, and the impact of their actions on a much wider group of people than are affected by individual action, the potential for both economic and physical harm caused by a corporation is great.
Further, major corporate crime is often complicated and more difficult to explain to the lay public, as against street crime which may provide visuals of victims injured or of property damaged in spectacular fashion.
  More results at FactBites »



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