According to Golson & Chambliss (2011), corporate crime refers to acts, which are in violation of the law that are committed by corporations, business or individuals who are in those entities. Some negative conducts by corporations are not actually criminal; regulations vary between jurisdictions. For instance, some authorities allow insider trading, while others do not. There are various types of corporate crime; they include crime against consumers, owners, employees and the public in general. The definition of corporate crime varies according to the contexts and there has been no precise definition at the moment.
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Major part of the issue in the progress of the study of corporate crime emanates from the actual meaning along with appropriate application of the label corporate crime. Several scholars of corporate crime have written on various occasions about conceptual and definitional difficulties. What comprises corporate offending? It depends on the person you ask. Part of the difficulty in defining corporate offending emanates from the larger, more important issue of what crime constitutes (Hartley, 2008). Someone can argue, for example, if there would be no law there would be no crime. This, at first, seems to be ridiculous nevertheless from this point of view it becomes an act, which violates the law. If authorities do not decide that a certain behavior is morally hurtful or wrong, then they will not make law against the behavior; consequently, it will not be a crime.
When law defines crime, it therefore, follows that two items can be inferred regarding crime in the United States: any conduct can be made a crime and no conduct is automatically a crime, if not defined by the authority as a crime. There are two categories that have been used to describe crime: intrinsically evil or based on the legislative interpretation of crime (Hartley, 2008). Some people dispute that such distinction ought not to be made, since there is no act which is wrong unless the government confirms that they are wrongs to support this situation whereby that the society did not have any behavior, which is regarded as wrong.
Consequently, crime is socially constructed, and it is whatever the society says. Different societies have different definitions of crime. Correspondingly, corporate crime has also proved to be divisive. Firstly, various terms have been put forward to illustrate corporate crime: commercial crime, political crime, governmental crime, and white-collar crime to mention a few (Hartley, 2008). The misunderstanding emanates from opinion that these terms are frequently used to explain diverse behaviors, or on the other hand, that they have been used to explain same behaviors. An individual studying corporate crime may find it complicated to determine behaviors that fall under corporate crime’s guise, or if it can refer to the conduct they are studying as corporate crime.
Because of this, some effort has been made at arriving to an agreement on what comprises corporate crime. However, these efforts have not been profitable. Definition of corporate crime frequently varies within and across disciplines. The struggle has been aimed at having a universal meaning (Hartley, 2008). In order to develop clarity as well as progression to the misunderstanding, scholars have begun to develop strategies for agreement on the theoretical issues. Scholars have stressed that they can reach definitions by using inductive or deductive strategies.
Finally, the deductive approach begins with a formal definition and uncovers behaviors, which are in agreement with that definition. On the other hand, the inductive method will aim at categorizing commonalities in the definition of white-collar crime and develop a definition from these. The methods may evade conceptualization. The third method will get rid of the definitions and aim at conceptualizing white-collar crime to integrate different definitions (Hartley, 2008).Additionally, in order to develop a definition of corporate crime, various factors must be considered, for instance, the existing law, determining forms of harm, modus operandi, categories of the offender as well as kinds of victims the offenses were committed against.