Magazine article Security Management

Up for Grabs

Magazine article Security Management

Up for Grabs

Article excerpt

Getting a handle on the motivations of dishonest employees has long been a goal for researchers and security professionals alike. Why do otherwise competent, loyal employees steal? And, more importantly, what will they take?

One interesting theory that answers the second question to this dilemma comes from the work of Dr. Richard Hollinger, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and The Center for the Study of Criminology and Law at the University of Florida.

Hollinger's most recent book, Dishonesty in the Workplace, documents the theft activities of employees in various work settings. He discussed his findings at a recent loss prevention colloquy sponsored by Sensormatic.

Consistently, Hollinger concluded, property most likely to be taken by employees falls into one category--property considered by workers to be of uncertain ownership. The concept of uncertain ownership was first introduced in 1970 by researcher Donald Horning.

After studying a television manufacturing plant in Indiana, Horning identified three property categories--property belonging to the company, property belonging to individual employees, and property of uncertain ownership.

Hollinger postulated that this nebulous property category is the one most attractive to dishonest employees--and his studies of various work settings has proved him correct (see chart).

Hollinger's interest in dishonesty in the workplace began in the late 1970s while he was completing graduate studies at the University of Minnesota. Coauthor with John P. …

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