Call for Papers: Special Issue ‘Administrative Sciences’

Special Issue of ‘Administrative Sciences’ on Organizational Aspects of Corporate and Organizational Crime

Corporate crimes seem endemic to modern society. Newspapers are filled on a daily basis with examples of financial manipulation, accounting fraud, cartels, bribery, toxic spills and environmental harms, corporate human rights violations, corporate manslaughter or violence, and, recently, software manipulation. Clearly, the problem of corporate crime transcends the micro level of the individual ‘rotten apple’ (Ashforth et al. 2008; Monahan and Quinn 2006): although corporate crimes are ultimately committed by individual members of an organization, they are committed for, and enabled and justified by, organizations. Organization studies have therefore become increasingly preoccupied with organizational misbehavior and deviancy, ‘the dark side of organization’ (Linstead, Maréchal, Griffin 2014), and also has an important contribution to make to our understanding of corporate crime and its prevention.

A Special Issue is being prepared for Administrative Sciences focusing on the organizational aspects of corporate and organizational crime. We broadly define corporate or organizational crimes as illegal or harmful acts, committed by legitimate organizations or their members, for the benefit of these organizations. We invite contributions with regard to three organizational perspectives on corporate crime:

The organization as cause: Organizational strategy, culture, and structure, shape behavior in organizations and are therefore essential explanations of corporate crime. Paradoxically, it is often conformity to organizational norms and goals that can explain corporate deviancy (Vaughan 1999). Research questions might address how organizations socialize individuals to adopt motives and goals, but also norms, beliefs and identities, resulting in normalization of deviance and making ‘good people do bad things’ (Kaptein 2013). Research could also study how organizational structures and information and decisionmaking procedures may create cultures of secrecy and silence (Van de Bunt 2010) and result in irrationalities, ‘group think’, or flawed  risk perceptions (Mills and Koliba 2015). Similarly, organizational hierarchy, authority, and narcissistic leadership  may disengage people from responsibilities and result in crimes of obedience.

The organization as cure: A range of formal and informal systems of social and administrative control are  introduced within organizations to prevent corporate crime. Although some have been effective, compliance systems can also be introduced as symbolic responses to external pressure, and resort to check-the-box bureaucratic ritualism and cosmetic compliance (Merton 1968; Krawiec 2003).  It is therefore important to study how formal control systems interact with informal control within organizations to create a shared culture of integrity. Research could address corporate governance, compliance programmes, audits and accountability mechanisms, ethics training programmes, whistle blowing and reporting programmes, and the functioning and effectiveness of risk and compliance managers within organizations. Methodologically, there is a knowledge gap with regard to the causality relation between formal and informal control: Do formal control systems make for ethical organizations, or do ethical organizations create elaborate control systems (Apel and Paternoster 2009)?

The organization of the crime: The question how corporate crimes are organized, deserves specific attention from an organization studies perspective, as organizations provide opportunities for generating, hiding and spending illegal profit that individuals lack. Rather than technical analyses of modus operandi, an organization studies perspective can provide understandings of how business offenders use their organizations and reputations to conceal illegal acts (Van de Bunt 2010). As corporate crimes are often embedded within firm’s social environment, research can also address how organizations collaborate to commit and conceal crime (Lord and Levi 2017; Jaspers 2017). In particular, the role of social and organizational networks and business associations in facilitating connections between elite members and deviant organizations, as well as in disseminating deviant norms and illegal practices, is important (Baker and Faulkner 1993; Reeves-Latour and Morselli 2017; Bichler, Schoepfer and Bush 2015). A last obvious topic of study is the question whether regulatory and market-based prevention strategies effectively undermine the organization of corporate crimes.

For this Special Issue, we invite papers with disciplinary roots in organization and management studies, public administration, business ethics, organizational psychology and sociology, criminology, and related disciplines. We particularly invite multi- and interdisciplinary work. Both theoretical and empirical papers, and both quantitative and qualitative research are welcome, with a particular but not exclusive interest in organizational ethnography. We aim for a wide international authorship with a global reach.

Administrative Sciences (ISSN 2076-3387) is an international, peer-reviewed, open access journal (free for readers), which publishes original theoretical and empirical work on organization studies. Administrative Sciences aims to advance and communicate knowledge concerning management theory and practice both in public administration and in profit organizations; it encourages submissions that build on interdisciplinary research in related fields, such as business, economics, sociology, physiology, communication theory or artificial intelligence and their implications on management, organizations and the society. Administrative Sciences aims to provide a rapid refereeing and editorial processes, following standard publication practices.

The submission deadline for this special issue is February 28 2018.