Inherent criminogenesis in
Department of Law and Science, Middlesex University, London, UK
Purpose –This paper aims to discuss criminogenic elements and processes inherently presented in
businessorganisations that affect the emergence of crime committed in or by business organisations.
Design/methodology/approach –This conceptual paper, based on relevant literature regarding a
range of crime-coercive and crime-facilitative elements and forces that promote corporate crime, considers
businessorganisations as a cogent unit of analysis to discuss the causation and origin of corporatecrime.
Findings –Business organisationsare, per se, criminogenic, i.e. companies are latentlyprone to committing
crime, but are not necessarily criminal. By seeking to achieve commercial goals, companies can
unintentionallycreate an atmosphere that invites crimes and unethical conduct. Organisational criminalityis
not primarily inﬂuenced by deviance in individual behaviour, but is a product of the organisation’s
criminogenic settingsand environment. Criminal activity arises from contact with criminogenicsystems and
employees’adaptionto organisational behavioursthat do not meet the highest ethical andmoral standards.
Research limitations/implications –This is a theoreticalanalysis, lacking empirical research.
Practical implications –This study can help anti-fraud and compliance practitioners to develop anti-
fraud strategies to prevent corporate crime at its source and further discussion on the causes of corporate
misconduct and progressesthe debate on the sources of illegal and unethical behaviour displayedin, and by,
Originality/value –This paper highlights intrinsic features of business organisations that inﬂuence
companies and employeesto engage in illegal activities, malpractice and unethical behaviourand provides a
conceptual framework and insightsinto the realm of inherent criminogenesis within business organisations
and how this is shaped by organisationsthemselves.
Keywords Corporate crime, Organizational criminogenesis, Criminogenic features,
Paper type Literature review
The pervasive phenomenon of corporate crime has interested scholars and compliance
practitioners for decades. The question of how organisations ﬁnd themselves engaging in
illegal and unethical practices is problematic: disasters and scandals in corporations do not
usually happen without warning, but develop over time. This is accounted for by the
complexity of inter-personal, structural, and departmental relationships within companies,
and the changing environment in which they evolve. Despite the dynamism and ﬂexibility
of individual and organisational variables, there are intrinsic forces driving the emergence
of corporate crime in all businessorganisations.
There are several reasons to study businesses in this context (Judge et al.,2008): they
signiﬁcantly inﬂuence society and a country’s economicwealth; and employees spend most
of their day being part of organisation. Consequently, they inﬂuence our behaviour, views,
and thinking, and act as social and culturalsystems (Coglianese, 2007).
Understanding why business organisations engage in criminal activities could provide
an important basis for tackling corporate crime (Clubb, 2014), a phenomenon with adverse
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.26 No. 2, 2019
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