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Criminal entrepreneurship, white-collar criminality, and neutralization theory

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  • Petter Gottschalk
  • Robert Smith
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    Abstract

    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to apply neutralization theory to white-collar criminals to discuss criminal entrepreneurship. Design/methodology/approach – The theoretical framework of neutralization techniques is applied to criminal entrepreneurship and white-collar criminality. Findings – A legal entrepreneur is a person who operates a new enterprise or venture and assumes some accountability for the inherent risk. Similarly, the criminal entrepreneur's task is to discover and exploit opportunities, defined most simply as situations in which there are a profit to be made in criminal activity. Research limitations/implications – Examples of criminal entrepreneurship committed by otherwise legal entrepreneurs are commonly labeled as white-collar criminality. This paper discusses how criminal entrepreneurship by white-collar criminals can be explained by neutralization theory, as white-collar criminals tend to apply techniques of neutralization used by offenders to deny the criminality of their actions. Practical implications – Policing white-collar criminality should be expanded to understand criminal entrepreneurs when applying neutralization theory to deny crime activities. Social implications – Neutralization theory illustrates how serious white-collar crime is denied by the offender. Originality/value – As can be seen by this brief discussion of criminal entrepreneurship, white-collar criminality and corporate and organized crime, there is a need for a concentrated research effort to clarify and explain these conflated conflicts. By discussing them in context this paper has made a contribution to the literature by introducing the concepts of entrepreneurial leadership and entrepreneurial judgment into the debate. Moreover, in discussing neutralization theory, some fresh insights can be gained into the mind of the criminal entrepreneur.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy.

    Volume (Year): 5 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (September)
    Pages: 300-308

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    Handle: RePEc:eme:jecpps:v:4:y:2010:i:2:p:300-308

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    Web page: http://www.emeraldinsight.com

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    Postal: Emerald Group Publishing, Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, UK
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    Related research

    Keywords: Crime; Criminal entrepreneur; Criminals; Entrepreneurialism; Entrepreneurs; Neutralization theory; White-collar crime;

    References

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    1. repec:eme:jecpps:v:5:y:2011:i:1:p:11-28 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Garoupa, Nuno, 2007. "Optimal law enforcement and criminal organization," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 461-474, July.
    3. Joseph Heath, 2008. "Business Ethics and Moral Motivation: A Criminological Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 83(4), pages 595-614, December.
    4. Mark Casson & Andrew Godley, 2007. "Revisiting the Emergence of the Modern Business Enterprise: Entrepreneurship and the Singer Global Distribution System," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(7), pages 1064-1077, November.
    5. Robert Smith, 2009. "Understanding entrepreneurial behaviour in organized criminals," Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 3(3), pages 256-268, August.
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