Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Perceived Psycho-Emotional Influence of Aesthetics, Affluence and Environmental Sophistication on Employees' Theft Behaviours in the Workplace

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Perceived Psycho-Emotional Influence of Aesthetics, Affluence and Environmental Sophistication on Employees' Theft Behaviours in the Workplace

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study examined employees' perception of workplace theft in six industrial organizations at different situations where aesthetics, affluence and environmental sophistication were presented. Participants were one hundred and forty-four employees (72 males and 72 males) selected from Shell, Mobil, Altec, NBC, Peacock and Safeway Ventures in the south-south and south Eastern parts of Nigeria. A questionnaire was used in collecting data about workplace theft as may be influenced by aesthetics, affluence and environmental sophistication. The Chi-Square Goodness of Fit and Test of Independence were used in analyzing data. Results showed that employees were perceived to engage in workplace theft under the influence of aesthetics (χ^sup 2^ = 18.86, 3df, P <0.01); were also perceived to steal when wealth was present (χ^sup 2^ = 47.64, 3df, P <0.01) and were also perceived to be assisted by sophisticated technologies to steal (χ^sup 2^ = 78.84, 3df, P <0.01). Moreover, other results showed a statistically significant difference between perceived organizational theft behaviour across the three variables (χ^sup 2^ = 109.93, df = 25, P <0.01); a statistically significant difference in the perception of employee theft between junior and senior employees (χ^sup 2^ = 26.39, df = 9, P <0.01) and a statistically significant difference in the perceived theft behaviour of male and female employees (χ^sup 2^ = 586.057, df = 5 P <0.01). These findings were discussed in line with supporting evidence of previous studies. Implications of the findings were discussed and recommendations provided for policy.

Introduction

Employee theft has always been costly to business concerns across the world and this observation has been variously reported (Greenberg, 2002; Weber, Kurke dd Pertico, 2003). There is then widespread agreement that theft in the workplace is a serious problem. While a great deal is known through research about individual and situational factors associated with employee theft, social perception and emerging trends in emotions and cognition make it difficult to understand the role of diverse influences on the elicitation of theft behaviour among employees. Theft intentions and actions are difficult to understand among employees due to a multiplicity of explanations that can be put forward to unearth the reasons for stealing in organizations. Many of the studies dealing with employee theft have examined only a few correlates concurrently (e.g. Greenberg, 2002, Weber, et al, 2003) without multiple and systematic treatment and testing. This observation made Robinson and Bennett (1995) to call for additional research attention to activities concerning deviant behaviours in the workplace. They pointed out that while the understanding of prosocial (i.e. positive) employee behaviours such as organizational citizenship is fairly comprehensive, the understanding of deviant behaviour, is less. In response to this, McClurg, (2006) designed a proposed model and research agenda for workplace - theft. The purpose was to build a more comprehensive model of one type of deviant troublesome workplace behaviour namely, workplace theft, by extending prior research to include additional variables that may help individuals and organizations to better understand and control employee theft.

From the prism of Psychology therefore, workplace theft is viewed as a thorny and complex problem that needs a comprehensive treatment. So, McClurg (2006) believes the emerging model will readdress existing research on the antecedents and other correlates of employee theft which have traditionally focused on two broad categories of factors: individual (personality) factors and situational factors. McClurg's proposed model follows the general underlying framework for explaining workplace theft suggested by Murphy (1993) as well as the general conceptualization of the study of entrepreneurship as suggested by Shane and Venkataraman (2002) - that theft occurs when there is both need (motivation and attitudes) and opportunity. …

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