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Low Self-Control, Organizational Theory, and Corporate Crime

Sally S. Simpson and Nicole Leeper Piquero
Law & Society Review
Vol. 36, No. 3 (2002), pp. 509-548
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Law and Society Association
DOI: 10.2307/1512161
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1512161
Page Count: 40
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Low Self-Control, Organizational Theory, and Corporate Crime
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Abstract

The development of Gottfredson and Hirschi's general theory of crime (1990; see also Hirschi & Gottfredson 1987, 2000) has provoked lively debate about the merits of the theory as applied to organizational crime (Steffensmeier 1989; Reed & Yeager 1996; Herbert et al. 1998). While the debate is provocative, the empirical evidence brought to bear is an insufficient test of competing theoretical claims. Using data drawn from a factorial survey administered to a group of corporate managers and managers-in-training, we subject Gottfredson and Hirschi's theory of crime and an integrated organizational theory to a theoretical competition. The results show that corporate offending propensity and behavioral indicators of low self-control are unrelated, a result inconsistent with the general theory. Instead, variables consistent with an integrated materialistic and cultural organizational theory predict managers' offending intentions. For instance, offending is inhibited when a firm has a working compliance program and when managers perceive the illegal act as highly immoral. Conversely, managers are more apt to offend when ordered to do so by a supervisor, or to gain financial or market position vis-à-vis competitors. The implications for general and organizational theories of corporate offending are discussed.

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