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Organization of Ownership and Workplace Theft in China

NCJ Number
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology Volume: 44 Issue: 5 Dated: October 2000 Pages: 581-592
Lening Zhang; Steven F. Messner; Dengke Zhou; Allen E. Liska; Marvin D. Krohn; Jianhong Liu; Zhou Lu
Date Published
October 2000
12 pages
This study considers two basic forms of ownership in China: public and private; using data from a sample of inmates in the Chinese city of Tianjin, this study assessed the effect of these two forms of ownership on perceived levels of theft in the inmates' organizations prior to incarceration.
Questionnaires were administered to a sample of offenders from prison and reform camps operated by the city government. Usable responses were obtained for a total of 1,063 inmates. The current study is based on the subset of 356 respondents who were workers before they were placed in correctional institutions. The independent variable is ownership of work unit. The dependent variable is workplace theft as measured by the respondents' perceptions. Respondents were asked, "Is there anybody who takes workplace property (raw materials, products, and tools) in your work unit?" In addition to these primary variables, three additional variables were included: implementation of organization rules and the age and educational attainment of the respondents. The results indicate that, contrary to what might be expected on the basis of Western theory and research, public ownership is associated with higher levels of workplace theft than private ownership. The authors suggest that public ownership in China has contributed to a diffusion of responsibility and an organizational culture that is conducive to workplace theft. 2 tables and 36 references


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