Criminology - White-Collar Crime

  • Created by: Shelly23
  • Created on: 11-01-17 11:44

Early criminology focused on the 'lower class', offenders in courts, prison and convictions. Explanations focuseed on individual experiences such as poverty, deprivation, mental pathologies.

Now acknowledge that white collar crime can impact many areas in contempory life: individuals, finance, business, banks, politics, law, public policy, punishments, health, enviroment, on a global scale.

Problems: Ambiguities, definitions, comparison with other types of crime, appropriate responses and punishment, conviction, immoral v illegal crime, how to research it?

Edwin Sutherland

Definition: 'a crime commited by a person of respectibilitu and high social status in the course of his occupation' (Sutherland, 1949:9) Specifically a buisness managers and executives.

There is an overlap between these crimes:

  • Crimes commited by high status people
  • Crimes for organisations
  • Crimes against organisations

Different association theory: social learning that can account for all criminal behaviour.

Research established may corporations had been found guilty of multiple violations of civil and criminal status, and this made them recidivists.

Other Explanations:

  • Sutherland theory is now viewd as flawed, superficial and riddled with ambiguities
  • Arguements that a universal theory of crime is not possible; should ignore white collar crime because it doesnt 'fit' (Gottfredson and Hirschi, 1989)
  • Strain theory: innovative response to the strain of conforming to a particular culture
  • Control theory: justifications are used to 'neutralise' social control
  • Synthesis of control and stain theory: rlevance if Durkheim 'anomie'
  • Labelling theory: labelling behaviours as white collor or corprate crime eg legislations
  • Inevitable concequences of capitalism
  • 'Bad Apple' approach: there will always be one so it is unavoidable
  • Individual motivation, excitement, pressure, protect, career, profit, greed, power, subcultureal 'institutionalised deviance'

Devience within Organisations (Punch 1996: 56-7) (1-4 wcc - 5-6 cc)

  • Informal rewards - perks, tipping, discounts
  • Work avoidence?manipulation - arriving late, skiving
  • Employee deviance (against the organisation) - steeling, absteeism, neglect, sabotage
  • Employee deviance (for the organisation) - bending rules, cutting corners, not observing regulations
  • Organisational deviance (for the organisation) - acts supported overtly or covertly by senior management
  • Managerial deviance - deliberate victimisation of company for personal gain

White Collar Crime

  • Has been described as 'elite crime'
  • Can include a very broad range of crimes
  • Generally takes plave in private, with little effort if containing the requisite skills needed (can conceal activity)
  • Often involves 'insider' knowledge
  • Abuse of trust intrinsic in the occupational role
  • Determining responsibility can be problematic
  • Relatively few processed through crimminal justice system
  • Not always from higher socio-econoic status, middle-classes white-collar workers and rogue traders most likely to be prosecuted
  • External fraud - abuse of credit facilities
  • Internal fraud - ilicit electronic transfer of funds into bank accounts
  • Collusive fauds - employees or managers collude with external people to perpetrate fraus
  • 'Institutionalised deviance': typical practices and mechanisms in the field or practice - high risk taking, profit first(eg Nick Leeson and Barings Bank)
  • Common examples : theft at work; fraud (benefit tax); corruption; employment offences (health and safety); consumer offenses (counterfeit goods); food offences (regulatory bodies); enviromental crime

Some argue thatwhite collar and corporate crime is not violant crime. However, oftern…




good resource but lots of spelling mistakes mean it can’t really be added to my notes.

Arrumaysa Azhar


it was actually good and has kind of given me an idea of what a-levels I want to do 



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