Collective Corruption in the Corporate World: Toward a Process Model
In a recent court case, Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation, at one time the second largest baby food manufacturer in the United States, pleaded guilty to charges of selling adulterated apple juice during a period from 1981 to 1983. The plea was based on the “collective knowledge” of its employees that its juice was impure (Welles, 1988). Beech-Nut purchased “apple concentrate” from Interjuice Trading Corporation at 20% below market price. Later, it was proven the “concentrate” contained no juice at all; in fact, it was a “100% fraudulent chemical cocktail.” Beech-Nut continued to market the baby food as “100% fruit juice” even after suspicions regarding the concentrate were raised within the company. And, to avoid having part of their inventory seized by New York State authorities, Beech-Nut transported this inventory to New Jersey in the dead of night. Eventually, this same inventory was sold in foreign markets.