Toward Understanding Unlawful Organizational Behavior

The emergence and growth of regulatory agencies charged with controlling organizational misconduct has been so widespread that the monitoring and regulation of corporate interactions has itself become “big business,” with the complexity of the regulatory agencies at times matching or even exceeding that of the organizations they regulate. The effectiveness of these efforts to control unlawful organizational behavior has been assessed in many different ways. The records of agency investigations, administrative hearings, and judicial proceedings provide data on enforcement actions, court decrees, trials, convictions, penalties, and other indicators that allow empirical estimates to be made. A realistic assessment of agency efforts, however, must go beyond public records and recognize that all social control efforts encounter natural constraints because of the ways in which the social structure continuously and systematically generates unlawful organizational behavior.