What is psychological theft

PsyDok

Summary:The present study examines the psychological determinants of employee theft. The theory of planned behavior serves as a framework for the model of planned theft. A second model examines the influence of fairness judgments, job satisfaction and commitment on attitudes towards theft of company property. In addition, it is checked whether people differ in terms of personality and other characteristics in the formation of attitudes. The data were collected using an online questionnaire. In addition to questions about personality, retrospective questions were asked about experience and behavior over the past 12 months. The data set with around 100 cases was examined using structural equation analyzes, among other things. The results show that employee theft occurs depending on behavioral intent. This is determined by one's own attitude towards theft and the normative pressure exerted by private and professional reference groups. The intention, but also the possibility of stealing company property, determine individual theft behavior. The latent variables commitment, job satisfaction and fairness judgments do not influence attitudes towards theft in this study. Distributive and interpersonal fairness, however, show connections to attitudes, which were particularly evident in respondents with above-average negative affectivity and below-average conscientiousness. Taken together, the results show that employee theft cannot be reduced by just controlling theft opportunities and controlling integrity before entering the company. Fair dealings in the workplace and positive influence from colleagues can ensure that employees neither develop the attitude nor the intention to harm their company through theft.
Though being a growing issue in business life, employee theft is rarely studied as a separate form of deviant behavior in the workplace. This study aims at closing this gap by empirically analyzing psychological determinants of employee theft. The theory of planned behavior hereby serves as a framework for the model of employee theft. A second model suggests that fairness judgments, job satisfaction, and commitment influence the attitude towards employee theft. Additionally, it was tested whether respondents differ in attitude formation along personality and other traits. Data were gathered using an online survey. Participants were asked to self-report personality traits, experiences, and own behavior at the workplace during the period of the past 12 months. A convenience sample with 100 cases was examined using structural equation modeling. The results suggest that the intention to steal determines employee theft. The intention, in turn, is determined by the attitude towards theft and the normative pressure with respect to theft imposed by significant others. Besides the intention to steal, the opportunity to do so directly predicted individual theft behavior. Commitment, job satisfaction, and fairness judgments did not predict the attitude towards theft. However, the dimensions both distributive and interpersonal fairness were related to attitude towards theft. Particularly for respondents who reported above-average negative affectivity and below average conscientiousness, this relation was clearly present. Taken together, these findings support the assumptions that employee theft can be reduced not only by means of the control of theft opportunities at work and the control of integrity in employee selection procedures. A fair treatment at work as well as a positive influence of colleagues can assure that employees develop neither the attitude nor the intention to harm their company by stealing.