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Organizational Opportunity and Deviant Behavior

Convenience in White-Collar Crime

Petter Gottschalk

Ever since Sutherland coined the term ‘white-collar crime’, researchers have struggled to understand and explain why some individuals abuse their privileged positions of trust and commit financial crime. This book makes a novel contribution to the development of convenience theory as a framework to understand and explain ‘white-collar crime’.
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Convenience in White-Collar Crime

Petter Gottschalk


Based on previous research (Gottschalk, 2016, 2017), this book has made a novel contribution to the development of convenience theory as a framework to understand white-collar crime. The framework integrates a number of well-known theories from criminology and other fields to explain white-collar offenses in terms of economical motive, organizational opportunity, and deviant behavior.

Convenience theory was empirically discussed by presenting the eight most serious white-collar criminals in Norway. Traces and evidence of convenience was found in all the cases.

Of particular interest in this book were chief executive officers as white-collar criminals. They are alone at their level in the hierarchical structure, where they enjoy much power and are subject to little control.

Both theory development and theory testing have been presented and discussed in this book. In terms of theory testing, we have applied a number of approaches that all indicate the external validity of convenience theory. In particular, organizational opportunity and deviant behavior find strong support in both theoretical studies and empirical studies as explanations for white-collar crime occurrences.

Case studies in the form of autobiographies written by convicted white-collar criminals indicate a strong presence of neutralization techniques in the behavioral dimension of convenience theory. Internal investigation reports by fraud examiners indicate a strong presence of organizational opportunities to commit white-collar crime. Survey research among financial crime students in a business school indicates a strong belief that chief executives sometimes have the motive to commit financial crime in times...

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