Dishonest Employee: Motivational Aspects
Fraud in any organization usually involves a dishonest employee who has worked his or her way into a high level of trust. Employees who take on additional responsibilities and put in long hours are appreciated by management, and rightfully so—if they are honest. Otherwise, undeserving trust given to a dishonest employee creates a severe risk to internal fraud.
While personal honesty is an important predictor of whether someone will become a dishonest employee, it is only one of three variables associated with dishonesty. The other two are situational pressures and opportunity.
Beginning in 1969, I formalized my interviews with each dishonest employee and found that while individual stories differed, six factors consistently surfaced. Those six factors are attitude, entitlement, rationalization, need, opportunity, and trust.
- Each dishonest employee projected a common attitude—believing that a majority of the workforce, including management would be dishonest if the stakes were right.
- Each dishonest employee said he/she was entitled to take something from his or her employer. They felt taken advantage of, cheated, or passed over for promotion.
- Each dishonest employee usually rationalized. It was rare to find one who thought of himself or herself as a thief.
- Each dishonest employee attempted to justify their need by citing situational or financial pressures.
- Opportunity was a key factor. Each dishonest employee believed that his or her act would go unnoticed.
- Each dishonest employee appeared to recognize that he/she violated the employer’s trust.
Although each dishonest employee never mentioned the word greed, I must add this word to my dishonest employee motivational list. All crimes of business fraud have two things in common: One is willingness to violate trust. The other is greed.
Learn more about the impact of a dishonest employee and proven ways to prevent it. Order your copy of Business Fraud: From Trust to Betrayal today!