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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter views white-collar criminal behavior through two approaches, a “bad apples” approach and a “bad barrels” one. The authors identify the major drivers behind white-collar criminal activity and a number of mechanisms through which organizations can prevent it or constrain it. Their analysis indicates that there are four major drivers of white-collar criminal behavior: agency, neutralization, social conformity, and ethical distance. The authors conclude that while there is no single measure through which organizations can prevent white-collar crime, organizations can combine a number of measures and significantly reduce the probability of white-collar crime occurring or growing. These measures include the rationalization of managerial incentives, the creation of adequate controls, the protection of whistleblowers, the simplification and visibility of its structures and procedures, and the creation of an ethics-based culture.

Keywords: white-collar crime, organizational self-control, agency, neutralizations, conformity, ethical distance, incentives, controls, whistleblowing, complexity, ethical culture

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