Criminology Wiki

Organi-cultural deviance is a recent philosophical model used in academia and corporate criminology that views corporate crime as a body of social, behavioral, and environmental processes leading to deviant acts. This view of corporate crime differs from that of Edwin Sutherland(1949), who referred to corporate crime as white-collar crime , in that Sutherland viewed corporate crime as something done by an individual as an isolated end onto itself.

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Social Dynamics[]

In 2008, Christie Husted found corporate crime to be a complex dynamic of system-level processes, personality traits, macro-environmental, and social influences, requiring a holistic approach to studying corporate crime. Husted, in her 2008 doctoral thesis, Systematic Differentiation Between Dark and Light Leaders: Is a Corporate Criminal Profile Possible?, coined the term organi-cultural deviance to explain these social, situational and environmental factors giving rise to corporate crime. 

Renée Gendron and Christie Husted, through their research conducted in 2008-2012, expanded the concept of organi-cultural deviance, in papers presented the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences conference Toronto, Canada, the American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences Annual Conference, Las Vegas, NV, the General Meeting of the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada, in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, and The Humanities conference in Montréal, Canada. The term organi-cultural deviance incorporated the terms group think, and yes-men, to explain decision-related cognitive impairments inherent of corporations engaging in corporate crime. The researchers have found several interconnected dynamics that increase the likelihood of white-collar crime. The researchers have found specific group dynamics involved in white collar crime are similar to the group dynamics present in gangs, organized crime organizations as well as cults. Moreover, the researchers have found that there are systems-level forces influencing the behaviors and cognitions of individuals.

Hierarchical Funnel of Needs[]

The term organi-cultural deviance was later expanded and published in a 2011 paper titled Socialization of Individuals into Deviant Corporate Culture. Organi-cultural deviance was used to describe how processes of individual and group socialization, within deviant corporate cultures, serve to invert Abraham Maslow’s (1954) Hierarchy of Needs into a theoretical “Hierarchical Funnel of Individual Needs”.

Organi-cultural deviance was further explored by Gendron and Husted,using a micro-environmental approach, identifying social dynamics within deviant organizations believed to lure and capture individuals. However, through the social processes inherent of organi-cultural deviance, social pressures and influences force the individual to vacate aspirations to reach self-actualization and become complacent on satisfying lower needs, such as belongingness. In organi-cultural deviance, social dynamics and micro-environmental forces are believed, by Gendron and Husted, to result in the individual’s dependence upon the organization for their basic needs.

Organizations engaging in organi-cultural deviance use manipulation and a façade of honesty, with promises of meeting the individual’s needs of self-actualization. The social forces such as the use of physical and psychological violence to maintain compliance with organizational goals within deviant organizations secure the individual’s dependence upon the organization for satisfaction of their basic needs. As the process of organi-cultural deviance escalates, the complacency to meet mid-level needs becomes a dependency on the organization to satisfy the lower needs of the pyramid, the individual’s basic needs.