Tennessee may not be the first state that comes to mind when people think of white collar crimes. Yet, it happens here nonetheless. Over the years, social scientists and journalists have studied white collar offenses all across the United States to better understand why it happens at all. Their findings have been interesting.
According to Inc., there is a fine line between successful entrepreneurs and successful criminals.Both types of individuals tend to reject the status quo and have a more creative way of seeing the world and responding to its challenges. There is a constant desire to challenge what is considered normal, and in some cases, even what may be considered legal.
However, Inc. also notes that ironically many small business owners become white collar criminals without ever meaning to commit an offense. This may result from the following reasons:
- Pressure to take risks under financial constraints
- Tendency to focus on the dream rather than the reality
- Lack of resources to keep up with compliance requirements and changes
- Lack of enough peers and colleagues to review decisions and actions, especially for single-practitioners
A CNBC article proposes a different explanation for white collar crimes: ego. In fact, researchers referenced in the article believe ego was a bigger contributing factor than even greed. They believe that narcissism was at the heart of most white collar crimes. This was often accompanied by a strong sense of entitlement and a belief that the world revolved around the perpetrator.
While this certainly does describe some people who are convicted of white collar offenses, it is not true of everyone. For every egotistic fraudster with a corner office, there may one or two owners of a small business who did not believe exaggerating numbers on accounting sheets or underreporting tax money would have been a big deal.
Thus, Inc. may be more on the money than they realize. Sometimes financial pressures, lack of resources and not enough checks and balances is what makes it so easy for even people who otherwise walk the straight and narrow to commit white collar offenses.