Profiling white-collar criminals: what is white-collar crime, who perpetrates it and why?
Bethune, Richard Alan
Following a period of resurgence in academic interest in the subject over the last 30-40 years, white-collar crime has found greater prominence within criminology. Efforts over this period have however failed to produce a single satisfactory and agreed-upon definition, a consistent and coherent body of research, and a single theory which can account for all forms of white-collar crime. This thesis aims to address certain shortcomings in the current state of white-collar crime theory and understanding. Part 1) addresses the issues of both conceptual definition of white-collar crime and specific behaviours as proscribed within the Legislation. Part 2) examines current criminological theory and research on individual differences (arguably the biggest gap in current knowledge in the area of white-collar crime); it examines the origins and current state of offender profiling in crime prevention, before Part 3) presents original research on establishing offence-specific white-collar criminal profiles based on demographic, sociological, psychological, organisational and motivational factors. Part 4) examines why certain individuals may perpetrate certain crimes in certain situations, beginning with a review of those few white-collar crime specific theories that do exist, before reviewing traditional sociological theories and attempting to apply them to white-collar crime; finally in Part 5) a new conceptual framework for white-collar crime is presented, which is referred to as the theory of ‘Differential Assimilation’. I bring together each of these chapters and situate the thesis within current research and literature, summarising how it engages and contributes to the field of white-collar crime. I include suggestions for the practical application of certain white-collar crime prevention techniques within organisations.