Date of Award
Executive Doctorate in Business (EDB)
Dr. Karen D. Loch
Dr. Pam Scholder Ellen
Dr. Richard G. Brody
Frank Perri, JD
Organizations use pre-employment tests to identify individuals characterized as having a propensity (likelihood) to commit theft with the intent to limit at-risk hires, thereby reducing the risk of fraud. Pre-employment tests were originally designed to identify a broad range of deviant behaviors such as previous violations of laws, and violations of social norms and organizational policies (O'Bannon et al., 1989), not as predictive indicators of deviant behavior and theft. In addition, the test most commonly used to identify high fraud risk applicants, the integrity test, has limited support as a valid predictor of theft (MacLane & Walmsley, 2010; Ones et al., 2003; Sackett et al., 1989; Van Iddekinge et al., 2012) within the literature. This study empirically examined the efficacy of pre-employment tests to elicit a predictive profile of white-collar crime by testing the relationship between deviant behaviors, personality traits, and integrity.
The data for this study was obtained through questionnaires and pre-employment tests administered within the Federal prison system. The total sample consisted of twenty (N=20) convicted white-collar inmates. Results of this sample were compared to the general population statistics as provided by the pre-employment test providers.
In line with the literature, positive relationships were found between low integrity and deviant behaviors. Contrary to past literature, no significant relationships were found between Agreeableness and Integrity or Emotional Stability/Neuroticism and Integrity. A positive relationship was found between high Conscientiousness and Integrity. Of particular note, this study found that the failure rate of the overt-integrity test was 45% and 100% for personality tests in identifying individuals with traits consistent with deviant behaviors.
This study contributes to the existing literature on personality, integrity and deviant behaviors by providing insights into the nature of the relationships as they relate to white-collar crime. This study also expands the theory of deviant behaviors with a thorough definition within the literature results, which helps to define the dimension and constructs of deviant behaviors within the workplace as it relates to white-collar crime. Finally, this study specifies practical implications to be considered by management and pre-employment test providers for the purpose of enhancing fraud prevention and reducing deviant behaviors within the organization.
O'Brien, Connie, "Behavioral Characteristics of White-Collar Crime and the Pre-Employment Hiring Process." Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2015.