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Corporate Crime

Updated on September 11, 2015


Corporate crime, also referred as white collar crime describes criminal acts committed by certain business personalities during the actual/ legitimate business activities. It is sometimes referred to as organized crime. It often does not directly incorporate physical violence but rather, utilizes more of non-violence activities such as environmental degradation, money laundering, fraud, and even insider trading and so on. State-corporate crime could also be another type of offense under this topic, where corporates that depend upon the state engage in acts of money laundering or fraudulent activities with an aim of making profits.

Theories of corporate crime

There are a number of theories which tend to justify the different motives behind the various versions of corporate crime. Sub-cultural theory is an example of such theories. It states that, corporate crime is well nurtured and justified by different work place sub-cultures. It maintains that criminal subcultures are often formed as result of common problems that are not necessarily available by the law or are either not available in the societal norms. Another theory that explains corporate crime includes the structured action theory. This theory attributes the various junior (male) executive crimes as an acquired art learned from the senior executives. The Anomie theory attributes the corporate crime to the environmental uncertainties that strain corporate executives who devise various illegitimate, innovative ways of achieving the organizational “success”

Categories of corporate crime

In the day to day business activities various business organizations get entangled in the various vices regarding the corporate crime. Some of these vices have profound effect on the socio-economic well-being of different individuals. Such crimes are often punished by fine rather than employment. In such cases, the employees of the corporations are usually guilty as well. Corporate crimes are usually based on two broad categories viz. corporate violence and economic corporate crimes. The following are examples of corporate violence:

Violence against consumers

Such corporate crime entails the selling of unsafe products to different consumers that injure or kill such consumers. Such products could be the cause of some of the unfortunate circumstances such as permanent disability or even death. Another form of consumer violence may involve the dumping of large scale industrial waste (especially in the third world nations).

Corporate pollution/green crime

This involves the violence against the general public. The general public is violated against when the corporate bodies dump or pollute the environment and consequently interfere with the environmental conduciveness. The different green crimes are all often committed for the purpose of making certain profits.

Violence against workers

This category of the corporate crime takes into account the corporate organizations’ negligence to look after the interest and welfare of its employees in the required manner. Such corporate crime may often lead to death of various employees, injuries or even chronic occupational diseases. In such cases, the respective organizations are usually answerable regarding their incompetence and violation of employee safety standards. The eminent dangers experienced by the employees casually mean that workers are safer on the streets than on their corporate working environment.

Economic corporate crimes

False advertisements

Sometimes companies use false advertisement to attract or entice customers to buy their services or products which do not often meet all of the advertised benefits. This type of publicized awareness involves making inflated claims about the given products. Though it is not criminal offense, it primarily misleads the consumers.

Overt pricing

This crime involves a tacit price fixing technique where a given number of controlling companies in a given market decide to closely follow the pricing of the leading competitor’s price increase. It also incorporates subtle communications among the different competitors in a given market for the purpose of adjusting the price (unlawful adjustment). Different forms of this crime may include: partitioning the market into regions where each individual is supposed to keep a considerable distance from each others jurisdiction. It may also include, setting the prices of the products at a predetermined, relatively similar price margins and so on.


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