Low Self Control and Corporate Crime: A Test of a General Theory

Sally S. Simpson, University of Maryland at College Park
Nicole Leeper Piquero, University of Florida

A recent exchange in Criminology debated the merits of Gottfredson and Hirschi's general theory of crime as applied to organizational crime (Reed and Yeager, 1996; Herbert, Green, and Larragoite, 1998; Yeager and Reed, 1998). While the debate was provacative, the empirical evidence brought to bear was an insufficient test of competing theoretical claims. In this paper, we subject the general and organizational theories to a theoretical competition. Using data drawn from a factorial survey administered a group of corporate managers and managers in training, we find that the anticipated correlation between offending propensity and behavioral indicators of low self-control is not sustained. Instead, perceptual indicators of low self-control (e.g., perceived self-interest) and organizational factors predict manager's offendng intentions. The implications for general and organizational theories of corporate offending are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006