chapter  3
26 Pages

The Poverty of Theory in Corporate Crime Research

WithDonald R. Cressey

Of most relevance to criminological theory about crime causation were admonitions based on the author’s assumption that the corporation is a person who, like other persons, has obligations under a social contract. Of special significance to criminological research and theory pertaining to so-called organizational crime and corporate crime was a third notion, namely, that a social contract also limits the behavior of corporations. The criminologists who developed the corporate crime and organizational crime concepts, like the corporation executives who characterized corporations as persons in their codes of conduct, social scientists, and ordinary citizens who make organizations talk, think, and otherwise behave like real people. Edward Gross attributes all of this to the performance emphasis found in complex organizations, saying that when organizations face difficulty in meeting their profit goals they resort to crime. His criminological theory, then, is a simple one: poverty causes crime.