Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




In an effort to gain understanding of the etiology of corporate crime, a theoretical framework for examining the problem has been developed. This framework includes structural features such as a capitalistic organization of society, the importance of political economy, the importance of market structure, and the importance of corporate influence over the legal environment, in understanding corporate crime. Corporations within this society are affected by the structural features of society. Organizations are organized according to capitalistic principles and effectively force their employees into certain kinds of actions and activities. It was theorized that such organizational factors might have an influence on corporate crime.

Data for this study came from the Ford Pinto criminal case. Analyzing various data from Ford documents, NHTSA documents, trial transcripts, etc., a number of research questions, which were guided by the theoretical framework, were raised. The data showed, that in this case study, structural factors such as the profit motive, the ability of corporations to influence the political and legal environments in which they operate, and market structure were influential in the ability of Ford to manufacture and sell a defective autombile. In addition, organizational factors, such as the hierarchy of goals, the normative environment of the organization, and the basis for decision-making within the Ford organization, were examined for their explanatory power in understanding corporate crime.

A number of directions for further research and examination were discovered. The theoretical framework can be further refined and developed through such research. The problem of corporate crime cannot be ignored; it is a costly and serious problem for all people in society today. Through an understanding of the etiology of corporate crime, some mechanisms of control of this serious problem may be developed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Criminology Commons