16th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology 2016

Overview Session Overview Sessionprint print  

22.9.2016 - J-Building J 4 | 5:30pm - 6:45pm 
5.7 Causations of corporate and academic crime (EUROC)

Chair: Janne Flyghed

A Criminological Understanding of Deviance in Science
*Marijke  Van Buggenhout1, Jenneke Christiaens1
1 Vrije Universiteit Brussel , Department of Criminology , Brussels, Belgium
Abstract Text :

From a system entirely driven by the aim of truth-seeking and the pursuit of authentic knowledge, science evolved into an environment where great work could lead to high social status and prestige, bringing along commercial and political opportunities. With these fundamental changes came along immense challenges to reconcile fundamental norms of science with the relentless pressures that have become emblematic of today’s “excellent” science. Because of this rapidly changing research context it can be said that deviance in science has taken different shapes and dimensions over the past few decades. The emergence of the notion of integrity is relatively new in science, and stems from a growing body of research practices labelled as inappropriate. Attention to cases of scientific misconduct increased and so did the awareness of deviant behavior in science. In general there seems to be consensus amongst scientists in accepting Fabrication, Falsification and Plagiarism (FFP) as the three most basic forms of fraud. However, the notion of scientific misconduct appears more complex with an extending amount of behaviors being captured and labelled as questionable behavior or misconduct in science. In this presentation we argue that, from a criminological point of view it is exactly this evolution, comparable to criminalization processes in society that is worth a thorough exploration. Further, an understanding of the expanding ethical mindset in science as a response to the problematization of incorrect behaviors can offer interesting insights from a criminological perspective. In this regard parallels can be drawn with the rise of the integrity concept in other professional contexts such as for example police departments and the private security sector, resulting in a wide range of institutional measures, codes of conduct and prevention strategies. This paper is based on the literature analysis within the PRINTEGER project. The findings based on a literature study point to the added value that a criminological perspective, hitherto lacking, can offer on scientific misconduct.

Why should Criminology be researching scientific misconduct. An essay on occupational and organizational crime in science.
*Rita Faria1
1 Faculty of Law - University of Porto, School of Criminology, Porto, Portugal
Abstract Text :

Scientific misconduct has gained visibility worldwide and a series of concerns are expressed about its causes, frequency, and harms. Despite some more recent attention, it is argued that Criminology should consider scientific misconduct to be a topic of research. Results of a 5-year research on the subject will be presented, including results obtained from 27 interviews to European scholars and a qualitative content analysis to 13 documents produced by the European Commission, the OECD and the European Science Foundation. Results obtained show how scientific misconduct shares a series of features with occupational and organizational crime: lack of general consensus on what is considered to be scientific misconduct, on how (or if) should it be prevented and sanctioned, relative impunity of powerful actors, influence of the organizational environment in the promotion of pressures and constrains leading to misconduct. Correspondingly, social control efforts may be described as overlapping and dependent of voluntary acceptation of rules and regulations. What is more, definitions and policies battle between self-regulation of science or external-regulation over science. All this is considered to be best understood by using theoretical considerations produced by criminological studies on occupational and organizational crime, thus managing to promote scientific misconduct as a criminological topic of enquiry.

An Empirical Study on Causal Factors of Transnational Corporate Crime
*Wei Teh Mon1
1 National Central Police University, Dept. of Foreign Affairs Police, Taoyuan City, Taiwan
Abstract Text :

Sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan, this paper is a study concerning corporate crime by employing empirical approach to collect data about causal factors of transnational corporate crime in Taiwan. The research sample was selected from a transnational corporation with criminal record and another one without criminal record (as a control group). The corporation with criminal record released toxic chemicals and caused hundreds of people, including employees and neighborhood residents, to develop cancer. Interviews were conducted to obtain the primary qualitative data. The main sample of interviews included 8 managers and 10 employees in each corporation, i.e. 16 managers and 20 employees. Some other related people were also included (members of some non-profit organizations). In addition to interviews, secondary data were collected from various official agencies, such as Taiwan Environment Protection Agency, Council of Labor Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs. Furthermore, this study also employed content analysis method to analyze the representation of both corporations in the main newspapers of Taiwan. Finally, the quantitative data were collected from a survey. The sample of survey was 300 employees randomly selected from each corporation. Thus totally 600 employees were randomly selected from both corporations. The empirical data shows that control mechanism, criminal opportunity, and managers’ self-control are main latent variables that influence the occurrence of corporate crime or deviance. A negative interaction exists between managers’ self-control and criminal opportunity. Managers’ self-control has a negative effect on corporate crime and deviance. It implies that the occurrence of corporate crime and deviance becomes highly possible when managers with low self-control encounter criminal opportunity. Furthermore, lack of public concern and loose government regulation resulted in low risk or possibility of prosecution and punishment of corporations involved in illegal activities. Accordingly, the mechanism to control corporate activities largely depended on corporations’ self-regulation. The benefit of illegal activities became the main indicator of criminal opportunity. Once self-regulation was ineffective or failed, the occurrence of corporate crime or deviance was possible.

Business as usual. Neutralisation techniques as corporate defence strategies in connection with allegations of crime
*Janne Flyghed1
1 Stockholm University, Department of Criminology, Stockholm, Sweden
Abstract Text :

In the classic article Techniques of Neutralisation, Sykes and Matza (1957) explain how neutralisations are employed by young offenders in order to deny the immorality of certain actions. Offenders utilise these techniques prior to committing offences in order to neutralise reprehensible actions and to reduce their sense of culpability. Neutralisation techniques can be used to explain how individuals evade the social control that would otherwise restrain them from committing offences. Maruna and Copes (2005) argue for the relevance of applying the neutralisation perspective to completely different phenomena from those examined by Sykes and Matza. Proceeding from Sykes and Matza’s work, Stanley Cohen (2009) describes the use of neutralisation techniques in relation to state violations of human rights, and uses these techniques as a tool to deconstruct official discourses that have been produced in connection with allegations of crime. Cohen’s framework, unlike Sykes and Matza’s, primarily focuses on the use of neutralisation techniques as an official response subsequent to crimes having been committed and allegations made. Cohen (2009) argues, however, that the use of neutralisation techniques can also be seen to some extent prior to crimes being committed in order to make it possible to commit violations and at the same time reduce culpability. In a similar way, the defence mechanisms identified in this paper will not only be viewed as neutralisations of individual events, but also as an overarching and continuously ongoing process intended to legitimise the continuing work of the business as a whole; that is, business as usual. The paper will discuss these neutralisation techniques by using examples from how two Swedish companies apply when defending themselves against accusations of having committed crimes: Telia Sonera and Lundin Petroleum. Their defense is manifested in press releases, information on websites, internal reports, criminal investigations, and investigations outsourced to external parties.