Example Of Research Paper On Employee Theft
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The problem of theft in enterprises, and if a little to expand the scope - the unreliability of employees is as old as the world. Either material or information values of the company are not insured against theft or at least from misuse. Workers of any nationality, any age category are more or less prone to this vice. Virtually every large company includes its staff security service. Modern office provides a negligent worker with plenty of opportunities for misuse of working time. Petty theft of office supplies, consumables and resources might seem a trifle. On the scale of a large company, these losses may result in a substantial amount. The use of office equipment and Internet traffic of the company for personal purposes as well as telephone calls by the employee can be regarded as a theft.
The paper will endeavour to examine the issue of employee theft from different angles. Firstly, the reasons and some situations will be defined. The psychological characteristic of an employee who is potentially prone to theft will be presented. Moreover, various feasible solutions will be outlines and some options what to do if the theft was revealed will be examined.
It is worth pointing us that there are some types of businesses that are particularly familiar with the issue of internal theft. Most common are restaurants, billiard clubs, supermarkets and other organizations, where many employees have direct access to cash or other assets that are easily assigned. In such firms, the presence of security forces is the norm. Measures vary from a thorough search to hidden cameras. Even a lie detector can be used. All these measures are working on the creation of an employee feeling that stealing is dangerous and he can be caught.
There is also a certain group of employees potentially prone to theft and deception by virtue of their personal characteristics. The first group of workers contain people with hysterical personality characteristics that are easy to lie and theft for them is a kind of game. It is easy to convince yourself of this version of events, which is not true and support self-esteem. Compelling justification makes the person truly believe that he is not guilty, because of the circumstances and so on. Such people by nature are artistic, and most importantly, they believe in what they say, thus it is extremely difficult to find whether they are lying (Evans, 2011). Also there is a small group of people who have poorly controlled impulses. They take what is bad, and may exhibit a pronounced aggression toward the man who accuses them, since it is considered as a mere nuisance on the way to the desired. Such employees can actively and very angrily resent the very question of theft (Hollinger, 2006). Besides, there is a group of people with schizoid features, the so-called intelligent liars. For them to cheat or steal is not an ethical question, but an intellectual fight to win. They can steal not only for profit, but for the sake of satisfaction of their own vanity. They need to show that they are smarter and no one can catch them. Of course, not all of them will steal, but the probability of this is higher than among people who do not have such characteristics.
Psychologists and sociologists define theft as a human activity directed at satisfying personal needs. Based on this definition, it can assumed that the theft for empoyees is a source of material to increase income. But there are cases when an employee, committing theft, tries to deliberately cause harm to the employer, without having personal enrichment. It can be guided by a sense of revenge, anger and hostility. Carrying out its intent, the employee satisfies the desire to harm a specific person in the company, but the business itself may suffer significant losses.
It should be emphasized that there is a plethora of theft types. Overstatement in the supporting documents, the use of money as a "free credit" for personal needs by tightening the date of the report and the unspent amounts is a crime as well. Secret use of materials, machinery and equipment of the employer during the working hours indicates a breach of rules. Misuse of discounts and bonuses as well as stealing gifts from customers is very common practice. Normally these records are poorly organized and it is fairy difficult to control whether a gist was handed on purpose or not.
Tools, techniques, tricks and schemes that are applicable by inventive employees are extremely diverse. Employee can steal raw materials, parts of finished products in the factories, goods in warehouses and stores, products in cafes, restaurants and canteens. One of the agencies specializing in security of supermarkets described more than twenty methods of fraud cashiers and accountants (Petersen, 2009).
Industrial espionage is connected with the sale competitor information relating to a trade secret of the enterprise. The purpose of industrial espionage, as a rule, is related to customer base, technology and formulation know-how, pricing and marketing strategies, information security specialists and key employees, the financial condition of the competitor, his plans for the future. Leakage of information of this kind not only reduces the profits of the company or its competitiveness, but it can lead to the collapse of the business.
Methods of dealing with theft in the workplace are diverse and can include both work on the analysis of documents and various types of control with the use of automated systems or with the assistance of security companies. For safety reasons, it is worth taking into account the specifics of the enterprise, especially the manufacturing process, staff qualifications, history of the formation of relationships in the community and many other factors. Being quite expensive, anti-theft requires extensive study. To effectively deal with theft as a social phenomenon, it is first necessary to determine the reasons for generating. Practice shows that most thefts occur in organizations with low levels of management and accounting, where personnel management does not care about the satisfaction of material and moral requests of employees.
Causes of theft in the workplace
According to psychologists, theft, as well as other activities is aimed at meeting human needs. However, being in contrast to the acclaimed social activity, theft is a relic of a primitive way of life, when the concept of property did not exist. Theft sometimes might be justified by the society in the case of some extreme circumstances, such as war or threat to life, but modern society regards stealing behavior to be immoral and illegal. In some cases, the theft as habitual behavior can be a sign of asocial or mental illness.
It might seem simple to prevent theft in the workplace: criminals do not take a job and employees meet the needs of others with an appropriate salary. However, unfortunately, all universal recipes, are unlikely to work. Needs grow, and social attitudes are very different from one social group to another and from one person to another. Therefore, it is necessary to delve into consideration of other urgent reasons of theft. With theft man satisfies not only his material needs. For example, an employee can meet his ambitions, compensating dissatisfaction with his social position or career or a lack of recognition of his work by others. In this case, the thief evaluates its performance not in terms of getting wealth, and as a kind of successful operation, which puts it on a par with the successful and recognized in society people. Powerful incentive theft can become latent aggressiveness, the desire to take revenge or harm the offender. Existing collective informal traditions cannot only afford to manifest the latent propensity to steal, but to instill in her novice.
It is worth examining psychological factors contributing to theft at work. Needless to say, rules of the game are set by a leader. Assessing his actions, integrity and commitment, staff builds their line of conduct and defines the scope of permissible. It is clear that the chief can hardly count on honest behavior of subordinates. However, it is important how the employer meets its obligations to staff. Delays with salary or unexplained reduction tend to provoke theft among employees. The influence of the group can be a cause, especially if it is established in the collective attitude that a petty theft is acceptable. As an extreme case - a group of employees related mutual responsibility, criminal association (Chen et al., 2012).
Negative psychological climate can contribute to employee theft as well. Team that is busy squabbling or gossiping about some work related issues is considered as a favourable environment for potential theft. Another viable reason can be a lack of staff loyalty to the organization. If employees do not appreciate their belonging to this team and work in this company, they have no particular desire to protect "breech" property (Zhang, 2008). Also lack of control generates impunity. It should be noted that often these factors act simultaneously, energizing each other. As a result, the owner has to take extreme measures - a complete change of the team in a short time. There are cases when such "rotation" is included in the system and is repeated periodically (Petersen, 2009). In this case, you need to find the cause of problems in the weak management, inability to organize theft warning system, to form a corporate culture of making up full working relationships within the team.
In order to protect the business from employees who are prone to theft, it is necessary to eliminate the obvious risk. Alcoholics, drug addicts, people with criminal records and those who are addicted to gambling are people at risk. The risk group also includes people with strong personal characteristics listed above. Of course, not all of them will steal, but the probability of this is higher than among people who do not have such characteristics. Furthermore, the selection of personnel, it is important to focus on the hierarchy of values of potential candidates. Hierarchy of values is a ladder, which is what is important for a person. It is clear that if a person is looking for a job, the money will make a difference. The general ethical level of the candidate, that is the ability to evaluate what is good and what is bad is of paramount importance. Applicants that are flexible in terms of "good" and "bad", are potentially dangerous, a they can be easily influenced by circumstances or other people.
Key recommendations to combat theft
As mentioned above, the development of a specific plan for the prevention of theft in the workplace should be carried out with all the features of the organization and its staff. One of the viable solutions is the development of the local regulatory framework. Any rules of the game should be defined and communicated to each employee. The job descriptions, procedures work, a system of individual responsibility and liability in order to avoid possible fraud should be studied. Provision must be made about the trade secret of the enterprise and a system of measures for its preservation has to be introduced.
Another feasible option might be creating a system of accounting and control. There is nothing that prevents theft as awareness of the inevitability of its disclosure and subsequent punishment (Chen et al., 2012). For example, the manager must be able at any time to obtain information about the quantity of goods at all stages of its movement to be able to arrange an unscheduled spot checks.
Data validation of newly adopted staff is crucial as well. An employer has to require verification documents, requirements for employment together with the recommendations from previous jobs. Human addictions, such as gambling should be taken into account as well (Wells, 2003). Careful selection of managerial personnel is important as well. That set the tone for managers in the organization, they are a model for subordinates form ratio of staff to the entire organization and its leadership (Zhang, 2008). An employee must be sure that his achievements will be welcomed and appropriately evaluated. On particularly high-risk areas it is recommended to encourage staff after each successfully completed test. It is worth emphasizing the need for compliance with the Ethics in Human Resources. It is necessary to work out a scheme of movement of material values with regard to its resistance. It is necessary to distinguish between the functions of accounting and control between different services.
Theft in a workplace a widespread phenomenon. In recent years cases of theft involving staff has become frequent. Stealing varies from stationery to valuable equipment. In the trade sector employees steal goods, with thefts occur at all stages of the movement of goods, since its acceptance to sales, write-off or returned to the supplier (Mazar, 2008).
In large companies to deal with cases of theft at work a Department of security forces is created. It monitors the movement of goods and screens recruit candidates in order to stop theft. Small firms usually do not have enough resources to establish security, so they should find their own ways to prevent theft in the workplace.
If a dishonest person has access to material resources, it is tempting to use the tools to his advantage. Thus, theft is accompanied by other violations, such as fraud, bribery and various types of cheating customers. A dishonest employee makes feeble excuses, such as “I earn a pittance, and the chief with my help gets more profit from it, he does not lose anything” (Murphy, 1993). Such an employee will cheat and steal in any capacity, so it is important to know when to recognize these people and prevent their penetration into the company. Still, the most common category encompasses people who are able to work in good faith in the presence of scrutiny, but in absence, give slack and may be tempted. Therefore, only the organization of the system control personnel can minimize theft in the company.
Particularly acute problem bothers people engaged in the trade. When salaries are paid on time, and the count is carried out on a monthly basis, but the growing shortage occurs. If the amount of shortages is large people may simply refuse to work for the money received. After all, most likely, not all steal. There certain measures that need to be taken to prevent theft in the workplace and to pre-empt such a thing in the future.
Every leader knows that a good climate among employees is one of the main key to successful conduct of the case. For most subordinate pledge of a good attitude to work is worthy of his remuneration. Though many people do not pay, the majority will feel that their pay is not full. Even if higher wages cannot be paid to subordinates by natural causes, at least dishonest methods when applying for a job should not be used. It would be better to identify potential subordinate of real wages. Promise is not worth a bet higher than that slave will have to receive. Dozens of reasons can be found to explain this situation to a subordinate. Most likely the result of this action is that an employee will feel cheated. That may appear due to his negative attitude to the employer as well as directly to the execution of their duties.
Just a good step to maintain a good climate among the workforce will be the organization of periodic corporate events. If the financial situation does not allow to pay for gyms subordinates, or buy them tickets to a holiday, the periodic joint evenings will only benefit. Among other things, in private conversations will be easier to get familiar with the outlook and interests of the subordinates. All this can be used to determine the most suitable reference for employees. Congratulations on birthdays and national holidays tend to establish trust among staff.
It is recommended not to rush to blame everybody for theft or start firing without exception. Dishonest employees practice the method of changing duties. After all, in order to establish a regular theft in the company it takes time to prepare and organize the entire process. The frequency change of responsibilities and staff not only to forestall the possibility of theft, but also often helps to find the most suitable place for the employee (Mazar, 2008). If a reluctance to change their subordinate position or responsibilities, is met it is worth finding out the reason. The periodicity of accounting and continuous improvement, not only the workflow, but also control the reasonableness of expenses for a company is vital. Layoffs should be resorted to only if the reasons prompting people to steal are connected with the greed of individual employees.
Chen, C. X., Sandino, T. (September, 2012). Can wages buy honesty? The relationship between relative wages and employee theft. Journal of Accounting Research, 50 (4), 967 – 1000.
Evans, J. H., Hannan, R. L., R. Krishnan, R., Moser, D. V. (2011). “Honesty in Managerial Reporting. The Accounting Review, 76, 537–59.
Hollinger, R. C., Davis, J. L. (2006). “Employee Theft and Staff Dishonesty” Pp. 203-228 in The Handbook of Security. Martin Gill (editor). London: Palgrave Macmillan
Mazar, N. O., Ariely, D. (2008). “The Dishonesty of Honest People: A Theory of Self Concept Maintenance.” Journal of Marketing Research 45, 633–44.
Murphy, K. R. Honesty in the Workplace. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, 1993.
Petersen, M. A. (2009). Estimating Standard Errors in Finance Panel Data Sets: Comparing Approaches. Review of Financial Studies, 22, 435–80.
Wells, J. T. (2003). Control Cash-Register Thievery. Journal of Accountancy, 193, 88–92.
Zhang, Y. (2008). The Effects of Perceived Fairness and Communication on Honesty and Collusion in a Multi-Agent Setting. The Accounting Review, 83, 1125–46.
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