Varied illustrations can explain circumstances leading to white-collar crime. Scholars in criminology and financial fields provide complex viewpoints regarding an evolving concept of white-collar crime at the workplace. Ball characterizes activities classified under which white-collar crime can be defined (24). Friedrichs assertions (5) concurs with argument made by Ball (24) and Gîrla and Jacob (154), indicating that white-collar crime transpires in legal occupational frameworks and motivated either by work-related success or enhanced economic gain. However, Friedrichs further explains that white-collar crime is not influenced by premeditated or direct violence such are office-based sexual abuse or assaults (5). Although employees and employers can perpetuate criminal activities at the workplace, elite deviance is more risky and can adversely affect operations of both organizations and states.
People of high social status commit criminal activities while discharging their duties. Gîrla and Jacob aver that elite deviance refers to illegal activities undertaken by corporates, powerful military, and influential political leaders among other parties (159). Ball agrees that activities occasioned by elites lead to financial, physical, and moral harm to the citizens (24). Accordingly, the activities may deny basic human rights, such as access to health care amenities. They also limit government control of basic infrastructure and occasion economic domination (Ball 27). When elites engage in actions, such as health care fraud, antitrust violations, and price fixing aimed at benefiting a few in the society, the actions may result to suffering and abject poverty to the underprivileged citizens. Therefore, such crimes should be prosecuted and perpetrators fined to compensate damages incurred to citizens.
All crime propagated at the workplace have repercussion either to the organization or to a state. However, according to Friedrichs, elite deviance extensively damages a nation’s economy compared to white-collar crimes committed by employers or employees who only seek professional success at the workplace (5). The contrast between scholars of criminology and finance while clarifying variations between white-collar crime and elite deviance stress on the social status of a perpetrator and the extent of damage intended or caused. However, various scholarly works reveal consensus that both crimes are linked to the occupational environment of perpetrators (Ball 25). Elite deviance is characterized by a broader spectrum of damages towards a country’s economy compared to white-collar crimes.
Several benefits and drawbacks are witnessed through a typological approach to defining and discussing perspectives of white-collar crime. Whereas the impact of crime cannot be overlooked due to the objective of perpetrators, it is significant that the potential harm is brought into perspectives before its classification (Gîrla and Jacob 158). The attitude towards white-collar crime significantly qualifies it as an unethical action other than a prosecutable activity. For instance, soliciting sexual favors for work promotions may not be comparable to significant tax evasion by corporates or embezzlement of resources meant to support veteran soldiers. From a sociological viewpoint, attitudes of crime qualify them as criminals, which should be arraigned in court (Ball 24). Therefore, classifying crime helps in understanding objectives and behavioral perspectives of offenders and can guide to a possible resolution.
White-collar crime and elite deviance are social abuses in organizations or countries propagated at the workplace. It is significant that proper processing of such offence is done and perpetrators appropriately punished to limit future incidences. Hence, limiting the occurrence of both white collar and elite deviance will enhance proper functioning of organizations and nations across the world.
Ball, Richard A. “The Logic of White Collar Crime Definition” Pennsylvania State University Review, vol. l4, no. 1, 2006, pp. 23-31.
Friedrichs, David O. “Trusted Criminals: White Collar Crime in Contemporary Society”. 4th ed., Cengage Learning, 2009, pp. 1-345.
Gîrla, Lilia, and Jacob R. U. B. “Correlation between Risk-Taking and Risk-Averting Behavior During the White-Collar Crime Perpetrating: Empirical Findings for Moldova and Israel.” Studia Universitatis Moldaviae-Științe Sociale, vol. 8, no. 98, 2017, pp. 126-169.