IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Criminal entrepreneurship, white-collar criminality, and neutralization theory

  • Petter Gottschalk
  • Robert Smith
Registered author(s):

    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.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Cannot be freely downloaded

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    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

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eme:jecpps:v:4:y:2010:i:2:p:300-308
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Postal: Emerald Group Publishing, Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, UK
    Web: Email:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Joseph Heath, 2008. "Business Ethics and Moral Motivation: A Criminological Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 83(4), pages 595-614, December.
    2. 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.
    3. repec:eme:jecpps:v:5:y:2011:i:1:p:11-28 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Garoupa, Nuno, 2007. "Optimal law enforcement and criminal organization," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 461-474, July.
    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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:jecpps:v:4:y:2010:i:2:p:300-308. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Heather Goss)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.