Can executive thinking lead to white-collar crimes?

On Behalf of | Sep 30, 2022 | White Collar Offenses |

People often think of crimes as things that bad people only commit, but this isn’t necessarily the case. A researcher took the time to examine the psychology behind white-collar crimes. He interviewed people who were convicted of white-collar crimes.

The conclusion he drew from his study was that sometimes the decision-making process that comes with being in an executive position causes people to commit white-collar crimes because the benefit of the outcome outweighs the perceived risks, which are often mentally minimized. It isn’t that they want to commit a crime or defraud people. Instead, they see their actions as the only way out of a bad situation.

Cost-benefit analysis

Executives are taught to think in a cost-benefit manner. This analysis becomes so ingrained in the brain that it automatically takes over every situation. When an executive is faced with the pressure to perform, the executive mind will automatically try to find the best solution to the problem. The executive mind may not automatically think about what’s right or wrong. Instead, it turns to the best solution that will cost the least.

Considerations of others

In some cases, these executives don’t see their actions actually hurting people. They think they’re helping people by doing certain things. One executive noted that he thought his actions kept the company going so that the employees could keep their jobs and income. The issue with this mode of thinking is how the person is meeting their goal of helping others.

The commonality of certain behaviors

Some of the executives interviewed said they were targeted for expected behavior in their respective industries. They felt they were being targeted and that prosecution for these actions was selective. It raises the question of whether certain behaviors viewed as criminal actions might be mere bad decisions made thoughtlessly. It could be a situation in which the individuals have seen the same behavior so much that their brain thinks it’s normal and widely accepted.

Anyone charged with a white-collar crime should immediately ensure they work on their defense strategy. These cases are often complex, so trying to rush through a defense isn’t a good idea. Working with someone intimately familiar with applicable laws is beneficial.