Research Companion to Corruption in Organizations

Research Companion to Corruption in Organizations

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Cary L. Cooper

Corruption in organizations is creating an increasing number of victims and causing huge costs. This timely book brings together international researchers who address the causes and consequences of corruption in organizations and the action needed to reduce levels of corruption worldwide.

Chapter 11: Reducing Employee Theft: Weighing the Evidence on Intervention Effectiveness

Edward C. Tomlinson

Subjects: business and management, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, organisational behaviour, economics and finance, corporate governance


Edward C. Tomlinson Introduction Employee theft refers to ‘any unauthorized appropriation of company property by employees either for one’s own use or for sale to another’ (Greenberg, 1995, p. 154), and has been established as a very prevalent and costly crime (Westcott, 2006; Flandez, 2008; Hart, 2008). It has been estimated that up to 75 percent of employees have stolen from their employers on at least one occasion (McGurn, 1988), and that this form of theft costs US employers up to $994 billion annually (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, 2008). Accordingly, managers have clear and compelling reasons to combat this insidious threat to their organization. In some cases, due to the criminal nature of the offense, employers may file charges against the offender so that a court may determine guilt and administer punishment in the criminal justice system. In order for this to occur, the court relies on a body of evidence to establish the guilt of the offender. This chapter concerns itself with evidence of a different kind – specifically an evaluation of the body of research that has examined how to reduce the occurrence of employee theft. Prior reviews of the employee theft literature have described several distinct approaches to reducing employee theft (Greenberg, 1997a; Tomlinson and Greenberg, 2005), implicitly suggesting that they are mutually exclusive categories. Furthermore, representatives of some approaches openly criticize the efficacy of the proposed interventions from other perspectives (for example, Gross-Schaefer et al., 2000). The diverse and ostensibly competing array of perspectives on reducing...

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