Today’s economy is tough. It is difficult, and people are struggling. This struggle has turned into additional theft and fraud. Companies are experiencing higher levels of theft and fraud as the economy declines. It appears to be an action of taking care of oneself at the expense of others. A sort of me-conomic approach that is guided by the new culture of “me first.”
When troubles arise and organizations struggle with limited resources theft and fraud begin to increase. It makes little difference if the organization is an individual, a company or a nation. The problem of securing one’s own assets from theft and securing others assets is a difficult one. The struggle to accumulate as much as possible becomes apparent when ethical and legal codes are violated.
Let us look at the example of large corporations with over 10,000+ employees where individuals can get lost in the cubicles and hallways. When wages become stagnant and job stability becomes questionable the workers begin to confiscate the organization’s resources. Twenty-seven percent (27%) of large corporations have indicated that company theft and fraud have increase since the recession began while fifteen percent (15%) of small businesses also experienced the damages of theft and fraud (As the Economy, 2009).
The type of items stolen often includes office supplies, money, information, and time. Of the most interesting is time as it represents a feeling that employees are not appreciated or being paid an appropriate wage. In essence fraud and theft of any type seem to increase as profits decrease further indicating a scramble for resources. Blake Coppotelli, a senior managing director at Kroll’s Business Intelligence & Investigation stated, “Fraud is not only widespread, but also growing and we expect this to increase further as conditions become tougher for business and the full impact of the credit crunch unfolds (As the Economy, 2009)”.
Such increase in theft and fraud are a growing sign that the needs of the individual supersede the needs of the group; that theft and fraud are tied to selfishness and individualization. Imagine if were to go back a few thousand years to a small village somewhere on the outskirts of civilization. As resources become scarcer cultural norms and power structure within the village would determine precisely who would receive which resources. Let us further assume that these scarce resources were something as simple and basic as food. The scarcity is created because there isn’t enough to fulfill the needs of everyone in the villages.
That scarcity could be overcome or handled in many different ways depending on the power of the local decision makers and the culture of the village. Each village may come up with a completely different style of determining who receives which resources and how much each member would receive. In all likelihood the result would be in a similar form to one of the following:
1.) Survival of the Fittest: Each person grabs what they can. They may negotiate, fight, sneak, lie, or undermine each other.
2.) Caste System: The leaders take what they need and distribute the rest of the resource based upon a person’s position in the village. The lowest members of society receive little or nothing.
3.) Communistic System: Each person of the village receives an equal share of the resources no matter what amount is available. The village succeeds or fails together. Yet everyone is still in want.
Each of three chosen methods could be considered a cultural vantage point. For example, distributing shares equally might mean that each member of society is seen as having equal value. Likewise, in a situation where everyone fights for the available resource members are seen as individualist under the concept that the strongest win. The means and methods of society indicate a cultural believe about the value of people and the structure of resource distribution.