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Introduction: This study seeks to determine the extent to which Tittle’s control balance (CB) theory (CBT: 1995) accurately predicts different types of deviance within a corporate setting (in this case, a financial services corporation). CB theory contends that deviance is the result of a control imbalance between the amount of control a person exerts and the amount to which they are subject. Control deficits result in repressive deviance (including most types of predatory crime). Control surpluses result in autonomous deviance (including many types of white collar offending). Method: We exploit a unique dataset consisting of the internal investigations of fraud conducted by a large United States-based financial services company to explore these concepts in the corporate sales environment. Results: Consistent with the theory, we find that a control surplus predicts certain autonomous deviance while a control deficit explained some repressive forms of criminality. Results also indicate that a control imbalance is incremental in nature and not simply a balanced/non-balanced condition. Further discussion revolves around implications, limitations, and future research.


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