Entrepreneurship and Organised Crime

Entrepreneurship and Organised Crime

Entrepreneurs in Illegal Business

Petter Gottschalk

Entrepreneurship and Organised Crime provides a fresh and realistic insight into the problem of organised crime activity and the role of entrepreneurs in illegal business.

Chapter 1: Entrepreneurship in Organised Crime

Petter Gottschalk

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship


Organised crime by criminal entrepreneurs is not a new phenomenon. Felsen and Kalaitzidis (2005) describe historical cases such as piracy, slavery and opium smuggling. The most famous and far-reaching pirates in medieval Europe were the Vikings – warriors and looters from Scandinavia. They raided the coasts, rivers and inland cities of all Western Europe as far as Seville. While being admired as entrepreneurial heroes at home, they were the most feared enemy abroad. ORGANISED CRIME There are numerous definitions in the literature about what constitutes organised crime; however, many are confusing, puzzling or simply contradictory. As Abadinsky (2007) states, there is no generally accepted definition of organised crime. To further emphasize this point with regard to European attempts to define organised crime, von Lampe (2005) notes that the overall picture is murky, fragmented and often contradictory because of culturally induced differences in perceptions and conceptualizations. Lyman and Potter (2007) sum up the definitional problem when they comment that the greatest problem in understanding organised crime is not the word crime but the word organised. Furthermore, part of the definitional problem is the idiosyncratic use of a range of different terms such as mafia, mob, gang, syndicate, outfit, network, cell, club, cartel and so forth, which are often used to characterize organised crime. In an attempt to somewhat overcome the definitional and theoretical challenge surrounding the meaning, nature and conceptualization of organised crime, we have drawn on Albanese’s (2004) work in which he produced a definition of organised crime based on a...

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