There are several underlying reasons why people choose to participate in criminal activity in the corporate world. Often times, intense pressure from corporate leaders may infiltrate organizational practices and gradually become a part of a company’s culture.

The culture developed and maintained by business entities plays a significant role in influencing the conduct of employees. Corporate leaders who send the message that anything goes and unethical behavior is acceptable under some circumstances may see problems with white-collar crime.

What is culture?

A company’s culture is the combination of an organization’s attitude, as well as the characteristics that make it unique. Often, companies draw upon their culture to select candidates who have compatible traits and will complement the organization’s approach to getting things done. According to LinkedIn, company culture is the DNA of a business. It defines boundaries. It creates expectations. It gives guidelines about promotes acceptable behaviors.

When one understands the definition and purpose of company culture, it may make sense why it plays such a notable role in influencing the conduct of employees. Organizations that neglect to define, protect, strengthen and nourish their culture may indirectly send the message that pretty much any method of personal conduct is acceptable. Coupled with strict deadlines and unrealistic incentives, employees may implement any means of accomplishing required objectives regardless of whether or not their behavior is appropriate, professional or ethical.

What is the problem?

In identifying the underlying cause of many white-collar crimes, the Harvard Business Review suggests the issue lies with poor company culture and lackluster leadership. Companies that promote number-heavy competition and excessively reward employees who perform optimally, may see an increasing number of their workers engaging in questionable behavior. In these scenarios, the company itself may face significant legal consequences as will any perpetrators of criminal activity.

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