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Article
Publication date: 14 October 2013

Robert Smith

This research paper aims to examine how organized criminals rescript their identities to engage with entrepreneurship discourse when authoring their biographies. From a…

Abstract

Purpose

This research paper aims to examine how organized criminals rescript their identities to engage with entrepreneurship discourse when authoring their biographies. From a sociological perspective, stereotypes and social constructs of the entrepreneur and the criminal are subjects of recurring interest. Yet, despite the prevalence of the stereotype of the entrepreneur as a hero-figure in the entrepreneurship literature and the conflation of the entrepreneur with the stereotype of the businessman, notions of entrepreneurial identity are not fixed with constructions of the entrepreneur as a rascal, rogue or villain being accepted as alternative social constructs.

Design/methodology/approach

The qualitative approaches of “biographical analysis” and “close reading” adopted help us draw out discursive strategies.

Findings

The main finding is that a particular genre of criminal biographies can be re-read as entrepreneur stories. The theme of nuanced entrepreneurial identities and in particular gangster discourse is under researched. In this study, by conducting a close reading of contemporary biographies of British criminals, the paper encounters self-representations of criminals who seek to author an alternative and more appealing social identity as entrepreneurs. That this re-scripting of personal biographies to make gangster stories conform to the genre of entrepreneur stories is of particular interest.

Research limitations/implications

This study points to similarities and differences between criminal and entrepreneurial biographies. It also presents sociological insights into an alternative version of entrepreneurial identity and sociological constructions of the criminal as entrepreneur.

Practical implications

This research provides an insight into how criminals seek to legitimise their life-stories.

Originality/value

This research paper is of value in that it is the first to consider contemporary biographies of British criminals as entrepreneurship discourse. Understanding how criminal biographies and entrepreneur stories share similar socially constructed themes, storylines and epistemologies contribute to the development of entrepreneurship and sociological research by examining entrepreneurship in an unusual social setting.

Details

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6204

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Article
Publication date: 18 October 2011

Petter Gottschalk and Robert Smith

The purpose of this paper is to apply neutralization theory to white‐collar criminals to discuss criminal entrepreneurship.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to apply neutralization theory to white‐collar criminals to discuss criminal entrepreneurship.

Design/methodology/approach

The theoretical framework of neutralization techniques is applied to criminal entrepreneurship and white‐collar criminality.

Findings

A legal entrepreneur is a person who operates a new enterprise or venture and assumes some accountability for the inherent risk. Similarly, the criminal entrepreneur's task is to discover and exploit opportunities, defined most simply as situations in which there are a profit to be made in criminal activity.

Research limitations/implications

Examples of criminal entrepreneurship committed by otherwise legal entrepreneurs are commonly labeled as white‐collar criminality. This paper discusses how criminal entrepreneurship by white‐collar criminals can be explained by neutralization theory, as white‐collar criminals tend to apply techniques of neutralization used by offenders to deny the criminality of their actions.

Practical implications

Policing white‐collar criminality should be expanded to understand criminal entrepreneurs when applying neutralization theory to deny crime activities.

Social implications

Neutralization theory illustrates how serious white‐collar crime is denied by the offender.

Originality/value

As can be seen by this brief discussion of criminal entrepreneurship, white‐collar criminality and corporate and organized crime, there is a need for a concentrated research effort to clarify and explain these conflated conflicts. By discussing them in context this paper has made a contribution to the literature by introducing the concepts of entrepreneurial leadership and entrepreneurial judgment into the debate. Moreover, in discussing neutralization theory, some fresh insights can be gained into the mind of the criminal entrepreneur.

Details

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6204

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Book part
Publication date: 22 May 2015

Gerard McElwee and Robert Smith

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…

Abstract

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.

Details

Exploring Criminal and Illegal Enterprise: New Perspectives on Research, Policy & Practice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-551-8

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Article
Publication date: 14 August 2009

Robert Smith

The purpose of this paper is to focus upon organized criminals as an enterprising community and as enterprising people. Organized crime is a global phenomenon that…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to focus upon organized criminals as an enterprising community and as enterprising people. Organized crime is a global phenomenon that concentrates upon the development of both sustainable personal prosperity and criminal culture as they define it. Such criminal businesses and the business of criminality go far beyond simple economic and capitalist criteria and entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial ability play a significant part in creating criminal wealth. Indeed, it is part of committed criminality. Whilst acknowledging the crime‐entrepreneurship nexus the literature seldom seeks to understand entrepreneurial behaviour practiced in a criminal context. This paper therefore examines entrepreneurial behaviour in criminals looking for useful theoretical perspectives and distilling key practices by seeking to understand entrepreneurial behaviour in organized criminals.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodological approach is a qualitative one and relies on cross disciplinary readings of the literatures of crime and entrepreneurship which are developed into a conceptual model for understanding entrepreneurial behaviour in any context. The key behavioural areas which the work concentrates upon are those of modus essendi, modus operandi and modus vivendi.

Findings

That crime and entrepreneurship are interconnected areas of human endeavour which both transcend the legal and illegal economies.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is limited by its tentative and theoretical nature and by the methodology of cross disciplinary reading. Future studies are planned to test the tripartite behavioural model on real cases.

Practical implications

Viewing entrepreneurship (like criminality) as being a learned method of operating has serious practical implications because it concentrates upon behaviours and actions in specific contexts.

Originality/value

Linking this understanding to the related elements of modus vivendi and modus essendi creates a useful model for understanding entrepreneurship in any context.

Details

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6204

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Book part
Publication date: 25 March 2021

Robert Smith

This chapter introduces the two main topics of ‘entrepreneurial policing’ and ‘criminal entrepreneurship’ and begins in Section 1.1 by considering the concept and scope of…

Abstract

This chapter introduces the two main topics of ‘entrepreneurial policing’ and ‘criminal entrepreneurship’ and begins in Section 1.1 by considering the concept and scope of entrepreneurial policing around which this monograph is organised. Its definition and ontological development are considered. Thereafter, the author briefly discuss what entrepreneurship is (and is not) and set out examples of entrepreneurship of interest to policing, including – ‘Corporate’ and ‘Team’ Entrepreneurship, ‘Intrapreneurship’, ‘Social Entrepreneurship and Animateurship’, ‘Civic Entrepreneurship’, and ‘Public Service Entrepreneurship’. The author then discusses why entrepreneurship is of critical importance to the police service and discuss worked examples. Having developed a basic understanding of the power and utility of entrepreneurship, then in more detail what the term entrepreneurial policing means and how it evolved in practice and in the academic literature are considered. In Section 1.2, the foundations of entrepreneurial policing considering its ontological and epistemological development from ‘New Public Management’ to ‘New Entrepreneurialism’ and also the influence of the merging literatures of ‘Criminal Entrepreneurship’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Leadership’ are critically examined. In Section 1.3, our consideration to include a more nuanced understanding of the what is referred to as the ‘Entrepreneurship–Policing Nexus’ including consideration of the influence of dyslexia on policing and crime and the power of the ‘Entrepreneurial’ and ‘Gangster’ dreams on entrepreneurial motivation and propensity are expanded. In Section 1.4, an attempt is made to identify who the stakeholders of this new policing philosophy are? Finally, in Section 1.5, the chapter takeaway points which both articulates and confirms the inherent importance of entrepreneurship in policing and criminal contexts are discussed and detailed.

Details

Entrepreneurship in Policing and Criminal Contexts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80071-056-6

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Article
Publication date: 7 April 2015

Robert Smith

The purpose of this paper is to consider the industrial exploitation of fishing quotas as a case of organized criminal entrepreneurship. Seldom is consideration given to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the industrial exploitation of fishing quotas as a case of organized criminal entrepreneurship. Seldom is consideration given to the existence of informal and criminal entrepreneurship within the fishing industry. Consequentially, this case charts the “Black Fish Scandal” in the UK which saw the flouting of regulations and quotas on a commercial scale netting the protagonists £63 million through the illegal landing of undeclared fish.

Design/methodology/approach

The case study underpinning this paper is constructed using documentary research techniques.

Findings

Entrepreneurship can be destructive in a Baumolian sense as well as being productive. The moral of the story is that the entrepreneurs involved in the scandal are primarily small businessmen and not organized criminals; and that lessons can be learned from this case on how knowledge of entrepreneurship can be used to ensure that entrepreneurs and businessmen are not tempted to stray into the commission of economic crime.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of the study is that it was constructed solely from media reports of the scandal. The implications of this study are widespread for politicians, local government, policy makers and academic researchers alike and highlight the rise and fall of an industry and the impact of “laissez-faire” entrepreneurship on the industry suggesting to politicians, local government, policy makers that there needs to be a more planned approach to encouraging entrepreneurship within such coastal communities.

Originality/value

This case based empirical study is of value because it is one of the first known UK studies of the Black Fish Scandal.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 35 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 22 May 2015

Michelle Davey, Gerard McElwee and Robert Smith

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…

Abstract

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.

Details

Exploring Criminal and Illegal Enterprise: New Perspectives on Research, Policy & Practice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-551-8

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Book part
Publication date: 25 March 2021

Robert Smith

Abstract

Details

Entrepreneurship in Policing and Criminal Contexts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80071-056-6

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Book part
Publication date: 22 May 2015

Mellani J. Day

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

Abstract

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.

Details

Exploring Criminal and Illegal Enterprise: New Perspectives on Research, Policy & Practice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-551-8

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 25 March 2021

Robert Smith

There is an evolving literature on criminal entrepreneurship which situates it as a sub-topic of the organised crime literature and either mythologies and elevates the…

Abstract

There is an evolving literature on criminal entrepreneurship which situates it as a sub-topic of the organised crime literature and either mythologies and elevates the criminal entrepreneur to Mafioso status or ascribes it to being an activity carried out by criminal cartels; or else it trivialises and minimises it as being ‘White-Collar Criminality’. In reality, entrepreneurship pervades everyday criminal life as it pervades the everyday practices of policing. In this chapter, the author acknowledges the existence of a ‘Crimino-Entrepreneurial Interface’ populated by a cast of criminal actors including the ubiquitous ‘Businessman Gangster’. These criminally entrepreneurial actors operate within a specific milieu or ‘Enterprise Model of Crime’ and operate alongside the legitimate ‘Entrepreneurial Business Community’. Within the two conjoined systems, there is a routine exchange of interactions either parasitical or symbiotic and these coalesce to form an ecosystem of enterprise crime in which it is not only the ubiquitous criminal entrepreneur who is present but a veritable cast of entrepreneurially motivated criminal actors. As well as the established business community there is a parallel, alternative community which is situated in the so-called ‘Criminal Areas’ where the traditional criminal fraternity carry out their nefarious entrepreneurial activities. Within such areas, an underclass exists which provides the criminal workforce for organised crime. The traditional criminal ecosystem is the natural habitat for the police, and it is around this activity that police are traditionally organised. A perpetual cycle of crime is set up which requires policing, but this leaves an unpoliced void which the entrepreneurial criminals exploit. It is necessary to understand the criminal places and spaces exploited by Organised Crime and what roles other criminal actors and facilitators play in the enterprise model. It is also necessary to understand the so-called ‘Perverse Model of Policing’ which distorts and magnifies the true scale of the problem and to appreciate how Serious and Organised Crime corrupt and infiltrate the legitimate ‘upperworld’ before one can understand the true scale of entrepreneurialism in policing and criminal contexts.

Details

Entrepreneurship in Policing and Criminal Contexts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80071-056-6

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