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Employee Theft: Legal Aspects - Control Strategies

electronic physical neutralization cognitive

It is important to employees that their taking behavior be perceived as something other than theft. Among the cognitive strategies they use are minimalization, neutralization, externalization, compartmentalization, rationalization, super-ordination, and reconceptualization. Historically, efforts to deter employee theft centered on close supervision and controlled access; those are now augmented with a full panoply of physical and psychological control strategies. Physical control includes simple barriers, such as fences, sealed windows, and gates; its more sophisticated forms include electronic surveillance, electronic monitoring, elaborate inventory control schemes, and property branding, to mention only a few. Psychological control includes preemployment screening, and the posting of company policies and rules regarding theft; often open prosecution of those apprehended is used to deter theft by others. One of the most significant deterrents involves the neutralization of the cognitive strategies that workers use to dissuade others from interpreting their taking behavior as theft (Greenberg; Hollinger and Clark; Shepard and Duston; Snyder; Traub; Victor, Klebe, and Shapiro).

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