Individual and/or co-offenders fraudulent activities can have a devastating effect on a company’s reputation and credibility. Enron, Xerox, WorldCom, HIH Insurance and One.Tel are examples where stakeholders incurred substantial financial losses as a result of fraud and led to a loss of confidence in corporate dealings by the public in general. There are numerous theoretical approaches that attempt to explain how and why fraudulent acts occur, drawing on the fields of sociology, organisational, management and economic literature, but there is limited empirical evidence published in accounting literature. This qualitative inductive study analyses perceptions and experiences of forensic accountants to gain insights into individual fraud and co-offending in order to determine whether the conceptual framework developed from literature accurately depicts the causes of fraud committed by individuals and groups in the twenty-first century. Findings from the study both support and extend the conceptual framework, demonstrating that strain and anomie can result in fraud, that deviant sub-groups recruit and coerce members by providing relief from strain, and that inadequate corporate governance mechanisms both contribute to fraud occurring, and provide the opportunity for fraudulent activities to be executed and often remain undetected. Additional factors emerging from this study (the ‘technoconomy’, addiction and IT measures) were also identified as contributors to fraud, particularly relevant to the twenty-first century, and consequently, a refined conceptual framework is presented in the discussion and conclusion to the paper.
Journal of Business Ethics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 14, 2015
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