Exploring Criminal and Illegal Enterprise: New Perspectives on Research, Policy & Practice: Volume 5

Cover of Exploring Criminal and Illegal Enterprise: New Perspectives on Research, Policy & Practice
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Table of contents

(18 chapters)

List of Contributors

Pages vii-viii
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Part I: An Introduction to Illegal Entrepreneurship: Some Theoretical and Philosophical Considerations

Purpose

The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the topic and discuss the individual chapters in this volume as well as to provide an intellectual orientation which will hopefully inspire casual readers to read further. The main thesis behind this volume is that entrepreneurial crime and illegal enterprise span two very distinct yet complimentary academic disciplines – namely Criminology and Entrepreneurial/Business Studies. And that we need to take cognisance of both instead of writing and publishing in disciplinary silos.

Methodology/approach

Our methodological approach in this volume is predominantly qualitative and in addition mainly review based. Our editorial approach is/was one of laissez-faire in that we did not want to stifle authorial creativity or impose order where there was none, or very little. The result is a very eclectic collection of interesting readings which we hope will challenge researchers interested in the topics to cross inter- and intra-disciplinary literature in search of new theoretical models.

Findings

Rather than findings we see the contribution of the volume as being an attempt to start conversations between disciplines. We appreciate that this is only a beginning. There are discoveries and perhaps a need to redraw boundaries. One surprising finding was how much the authors all drew on the seminal work of William Baumol to the extent that it has become a common framework for understanding the cross overs.

Research limitations/implications

There are many limitations to the chapters in this volume. The main one is that in any edited volume the editors are faced with a dilemma of allowing more voices to emerge or imposing a restrictive explanatory framework which in turn shoe horns the chapters into an over-arching sense-making architecture. The limitation of this volume is that it can only present a few of the voices and only begin a synthesis. Interested researchers must work hard to draw meaning from the eclectic voices.

Practical implications

The practical implications from this chapter and the edited chapters are manifold. The chapters deal with complex issues and we have opted to allow the authorial voice to be heard and to allow disciplinary writing styles to remain as they are. This allows a very practical understanding of everyday implications to emerge.

There are many policy implications which arise from this introductory chapter and the chapters in this volume but these will take time to manifest themselves. The main point to take away is that to understand and interdict crime and in particular entrepreneurial crime we must draw on inter-disciplinary knowledge and theories of entrepreneurship and business in a wider sense.

Originality/value

This chapter introduces a series of apparently separate yet interconnected chapters which explore the bounds and boundaries of illegal entrepreneurship and its originality lies in its approach.

Purpose

This chapter evaluates the cross-national variations in the proportion of employment that is in informal sector enterprises and evaluates competing theories which view these cross-national variations to result from either economic underdevelopment (modernisation explanation), high taxes, public sector corruption and over-regulation of work and welfare (neo-liberal explanation) or conversely, a lack of intervention in the realm of social protection (political economy explanation).

Methodology/approach

To evaluate these competing explanations, the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) country surveys that investigate the scale of employment in informal sector enterprise in 43 developing and transition economies, along with the World Bank database of development indicators, are analysed here.

Findings

The finding is that lower levels of employment in informal sector enterprises are closely associated with economic development, lower levels of public sector corruption and state intervention in the form of higher tax rates and social transfers to protect workers from poverty.

Research implications

This chapter reveals the need to move beyond treating these contrasting representations as competing explanations and to recognise how all are required to more fully explain the prevalence of informal sector entrepreneurship.

Practical/social implications

Tackling employment in informal sector enterprise is shown to require broader economic and social policies associated with the modernisation of economies, tax rates, social protection and poverty alleviation.

Originality/value

One of the first evaluations of the competing explanations for why some countries have higher levels of employment in informal sector enterprises.

Part II: Criminal Types and Typologies: The Role of Context, Places and Spaces

Purpose

This chapter outlines the co-operative possibilities that may occur between terrorists and organised criminals. It focuses specifically on the decision making processes of organised criminals, outlining the factors that affect any decision they may make that involves a move to assist those engaged in terrorism, the ‘initial nexus’. It accomplishes this with specific reference to the perceived entrepreneurial aspects of organised crime, using the work of Baumol specifically, but also expanding the scope of the criminal’s considerations of ‘profit’ beyond simply financial gain.

Methodology/approach

A literature review and potential model of the decision making processes of organised criminals working within an initial nexus relationship is presented, supported by a range of opinions.

Findings

We suggest a number of factors that affect organised criminals decision making process when co-operating with terrorists for profit. These factors include: the nuances of criminal cultures, the use of calculated deception, cultural affinity and geographical distance from spheres of operation.

Research limitations/implications

In the main the chapter presents the decision making processes of organised criminal income generation through those involved in academia and law enforcement. However, there is an acknowledgement of the need to gather the views of those involved in organised crime, and an outline of potential methods of research to achieve this.

Practical implications

It highlights this under-researched area to both academic and law enforcement professionals. Suggestions regarding potential areas of policy focus to interrupt initial nexus relationships are made.

Social implications

Provides an insight into this under-researched area, and may affect the perception of criminal decision making processes for academics, law enforcement professionals and the public at large.

Originality/value

The model presented is a means by which the potential for more accurate assessment of criminal action and associated risk calculation can be predicted.

Purpose

To explore the moral position of Baumol’s theory of productive, unproductive and destructive entrepreneurship; Ross’s (1907) concept of the ‘criminaloid’ and Sutherland’s (1949a, 1949b) theories of white-collar crime, as applied to ‘popular illegalities’ (Lea, 2003) and the activities of entrepreneurs who operate primarily as small/medium enterprise (SME); artisans; and tradespeople as they interact with an emerging affluent working class.

Methodology/approach

Provides a framework of key texts that explore the concepts of morality, legality and ethics when applied to the theoretically unexplored concept of criminal entrepreneurism, as a function of working class survival and capital accumulation. Research for this chapter included the analysis of government reports into the illicit activities of ‘professional’ and ‘non-professional’ bodies; personal observation of street corner shops.

Findings

Provides a critical analysis of theories that advocate rule avoidance and evasion as an acceptable process of developing successful entrepreneurs and the controversial theories of white-collar crime that focus on ‘high status’ actors operating at the corporate level. It identifies a necessary relationship and complicity between clients (victims) and practitioners as key elements in the commission of deviant acts, as victims expand their social, economic and cultural capital.

Originality/value

By combining philosophies of entrepreneurism, theories of white, blue and collarless crime and a reconsideration of moral business principles, this chapter introduces a new construct of deviancy as a ‘positive’ outcome that reject the need for criminal justice agencies intervention.

Purpose

While corporations may embrace the concepts of social and environmental responsibility, numerous examples exist to show corporations claiming to act sustainably and responsibly, while simultaneously showing disregard for the communities in which they operate and causing considerable environmental damage.

This chapter argues that such activities illustrate a particular notion of Baumol’s (1990) criminal entrepreneurialism where both creative and constructive compliance combine to subvert environmental regulation and its enforcement.

Design/methodology/approach

This chapter employs a case study approach assessing the current corporate environmental responsibility landscape against the reality of corporate environmental offending. Its case study shows seemingly repeated environmental offending by Shell Oil against a backdrop of the company claiming to have integrated environmental monitoring and scrutiny into its operating procedures.

Findings

The chapter concludes that corporate assertion of environmental credentials is itself often a form of criminal entrepreneurship where corporations embrace voluntary codes of practice and self-regulation while internally promoting the drive for success and profitability and/or avoidance of the costs of true environmental compliance deemed too high. As a result, this chapter argues that responsibility for environmental damage requires regulation to ensure corporate responsibility for environmental damage.

Originality/value

The chapter employs a green criminological perspective to its analysis of corporate social responsibility and entrepreneurship. Thus, it considers not only just strict legal definitions of crime and criminal behaviour but also the overlap between the legal and the illegal and the preference of governments to use administrative or civil penalties as tools to deal with corporate environmental offending.

Purpose

To explore and document the emerging international market for stolen tractors and plant in the United Kingdom. Whilst this may appear to be a criminological problem relating specifically to rural crime, it is a sophisticated international criminal business organised by traditional organised crime groups (OCGs) such as the Italian, Polish and Turkish Mafia’s in conjunction with a network of criminal entrepreneurs.

Methodology/approach

Using annual statistical data provided by National Farmers Union (NFU) Mutual and Plant and Agricultural National Intelligence Unit (PANIU) and other material sourced using documentary research techniques supplemented by qualitative interviews with industry specialists we present 10 micro-case studies of rural OCGs engaged in this lucrative enterprise crime. The data is verified and authenticated using narrative inquiry techniques.

Findings

There is an entrepreneurial dimension to the crime because traditional criminal families with knowledge of rural areas and rural social capital form alliances with OCGs. The practical utility of the NFU model of entrepreneurial alliances with interested parties including the police is highlighted.

Research limitations/implications

Implications for research design, ethics and the conduct of such research which are identified and discussed. These include the need to develop an investigative framework to protect academic researchers similar to guidelines in place to protect investigative journalists.

Practical implications

An investigative framework and the adaption of the business model canvass (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010) to cover illegal business models are proposed.

Social implications

Suggestions are provided for the need to legislate against international criminal conspiracies.

Originality/value

Uses a mixture of entrepreneurship and criminological theories to help develop an understanding of the problem from an investigative perspective.

Purpose

David Peace’s Red Riding quartet ( 1974; 1977; 1980; 1983 ) was published in the UK between 1999 and 2002. The novels are an excoriating portrayal of the violences of men, focusing on paedophilia and child murder, the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper and, predominantly, the blurring of boundaries between the activities of police officers, criminals and entrepreneurs. This chapter aims to examine the way in which the criminal entrepreneur draws on socially constructed ideas of masculinity and the capitalist ideal in order to establish identity. This will be achieved through an examination of John Dawson, a character central to the UK Channel Four/Screen Yorkshire’s Red Riding Trilogy, the filmed version of the novels, first screened in 2009. The central role of networks of powerful men in creating space for the criminal entrepreneur and the cultural similarities between police officers and criminal entrepreneur will be explored.

Methodology/approach

Using the research approach of bricolage, the chapter provides a reflexive commentary on the films, drawing on a number of other texts and sources, including news accounts of featured events and interviews with the author David Peace and the series co-producer Jamie Nuttgens – an analysis of the texts, using a framework suggested by van Dijk (1993) and McKee (2003) features.

Findings

The centrality of the idea of hegemonic masculinity to the activities of both police officers, and criminals and businessmen and Hearn’s (2004) assertion that the cultural ideal and institutional power are inextricably linked are examined through an analysis of the role of Dawson (and his three linked characters in the novels) in the Red Riding Trilogy.

Research limitations/implications

The chapter provides an analysis of one film series but could provide a template to apply to other texts in relation to topic.

Social implications

The social implications of the findings of the research are discussed in relation to work on the impact of media representations (Dyer, 1993; Hall, 1997).

Original/value

It is intended that the chapter will add to the growing body of academic work on the criminal entrepreneur and the ways in which media representation of particular groups may impact on public perception and construction of social policy.

Purpose

There is little doubt that the explosive growth of the cyberspace has provided a wealth of opportunities for a broad range of legal and illegal enterprises. One of the characteristics of the cyberspace is that it removes many barriers (e.g. geographical, accessing potential customers, cost of entry) from the path of savvy entrepreneurs. As such, a new particular brand of entrepreneurs has been born – these are entrepreneurs working at the limits of legality or plainly outside any legal frameworks. The purpose of this work is to explore the area of illegal cyber-entrepreneurship and to illustrate some of the factors that have contributed to its explosive growth over the last two decades.

Approach

The work is utilising case studies drawn from literature and news sources to illustrate the theoretical concepts that are being explored. The literature consulted in this work supports the discussion around the areas of entrepreneurship, cyberspace and various aspects related to illegal exploitation of the cyberspace.

Findings

The positioning of illegal enterprises within existing theoretical frameworks is explored and a modelling of the characteristics of such enterprises is being proposed. The duality of the opportunities available within the cyberspace is illustrated, with an emphasis on the fact that there will always be a ‘gap’ between the opportunities offered by the cyberspace and the possible illegal nature of some of the entrepreneurial activities that are taking place in this space.

Originality/value

This work explores and positions the illegal entrepreneurial activities taking place in the cyberspace. This contributes to the advancement of knowledge in this area. Given the fast moving nature of this area, there are opportunities for updating this work on a regular basis.

Purpose

To expand understanding of the motive, knowledge, and skill acquisition of criminal entrepreneurs while incarcerated and on release.

Methodology/approach

This chapter uses semi-structured interviews incorporating field observations from a convenience sample of ex-offenders in the state of Colorado, in the United States, who have been engaged in destructive entrepreneurship as well as local experts that work with ex-offenders in transition and reentry into society after a period of incarceration.

Findings

Many of these offenders’ actions outside of prison are highly entrepreneurial, with the creation of “ventures” that include production, inventory, sales, employees, managers, distribution, security, etc. When incarcerated with fellow “entrepreneurs,” tricks of the trade are exchanged producing even smarter destructive entrepreneurship upon release.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations include a small sample of interviewees, responses are anecdotal, subjective truth, and localized to the state of Colorado in the United States.

Practical implications

The findings inform research on entrepreneurial cognition set in the destructive space, as well as reveal methods and intentions that lead to a better understanding of the “structure of the reward” for such behavior.

Social implications

An examination of this behavior and underlying motives provides insights as to how society might be better prepared for and redirect destructive entrepreneurial behavior toward more positive outcomes.

Originality/value

The current sparse literature engaging the concept of destructive entrepreneurship generally does so at the country, institution, or corporate level. This chapter focuses on destructive entrepreneurial behavior at the individual (micro venture) level and provides recommendations for policy consideration.

Purpose

Building on previous work from Frith, McElwee, Smith, Somerville and Fairlie this chapter further explores entrepreneurship as practiced by an entrepreneur (who is also a drug dealer) in a rural, UK, northern, small-town context and how he does ‘strategy’.

Methodology/approach

This research was conducted in a broadly grounded approach using a conversational research methodology (Feldman, 1999). A series of conversations were conducted with a career drug dealer, guided by a very basic agenda-setting question of ‘how do you earn money?’ Emergent themes were explored through further conversation before being compared with literature and triangulated with third party conversations.

Research limitations/implications

Implications for research design, ethics and the conduct of such research are identified and discussed. As a research project this work is protean and as a case study the generalisations that can be made from this piece are necessarily limited. Access to and ethical approval for research directly with illegal entrepreneurs is fraught with difficulty in the risk-averse environment of academia. This limits the data available directly from illegal entrepreneurs. The credibility of data collected from third parties is limited by their peripheral interest in and awareness of entrepreneurship discourse, entrepreneurial life themes and the entrepreneurial dimension to crime, as well as by the structural bias implicit in the fact that many of these third parties deal only with what might be termed the unsuccessful entrepreneurs (i.e., those that got caught!) Findings represent a tentative indication of potential themes for further research.

Purpose

The aim of this chapter is to advance an understanding of the value of informal entrepreneurial activities in relation to context using an institutional perspective arguing that heterogeneity in institutional embeddedness affects the value individuals attach to entrepreneurial actions.

Methodology

We draw empirically on 100 interviews with individuals engaged in informal cross-border activities in eight EU border regions across four countries that have experienced changes of regulatory, economic and social nature.

Findings

The analysis offers important insights on how three institutional logics – market, state and community – guide entrepreneurial action at the micro-level and affect value creation. Our evidence supports the use of these activities to fulfil important economic functions and to nurture family and social relations in closely-knit communities. Differences in the embeddedness of individuals in each of these logics contributed to their perception of the value of their informal entrepreneurial actions along economic and social dimensions at the individual, community and society level and also at the short and long run.

Research Implications

Our main contributions lie in extending discussions of economic and social value of informal entrepreneurial activities and in providing a dynamic view of the value of informal entrepreneurial activities that account for changes or shifts in institutional logics, the responses they generate and the value created as a result.

Cover of Exploring Criminal and Illegal Enterprise: New Perspectives on Research, Policy & Practice
DOI
10.1108/S2040-724620155
Publication date
2015-05-22
Book series
Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78441-552-5
eISBN
978-1-78441-551-8
Book series ISSN
2040-7246