White-Collar Criminal: The Offender in Business and the Professions

By Gilbert Geis | Go to book overview

6
WHY BUSINESSMEN VIOLATE THE LAW

Robert E. Lane

Recent interest in the problem of illegality in the business community focuses attention on the considerable scope of this phenomenon. Thus, in 1951, the National Labor Relations Board formally ordered 115 firms to cease certain illegal practices and informally adjusted another 796 cases. In the same year, the Federal Trade Commission investigated 869 cases of deceptive practices and found business management guilty of illegal practices in 107; the Wage and Hour and Public Contracts Divisions of the Department of Labor inspected 33,479 establishments and found 56 per cent of them guilty of violations of the law. Of course, these represent only a fraction of the cases of violation, but they insistently raise the question: Why do some businessmen violate these laws while others do not? This paper is an attempt to contribute to the growing evidence and doctrine in this field. It is based upon the following sources of information: (1) interviews with top management in twenty-five New England industrial firms; (2) interviews with seven leaders of govern-

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Reprinted from Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology and Police Science, 44 ( July, 1953), pp. 151-165.

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