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Garment Workers: Perceptions of Inequity and Employee Theft

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 27 Issue: 2 Dated: (Spring 1987) Pages: 174-190
E W Sieh
Date Published
17 pages
Interviews with 16 retired garment workers revealed that neither employee theft nor other forms of deviance were related to employees' perceptions of inequitable treatment.
The workers interviewed had problems with all aspects of their jobs, but they either did nothing or went to the boss directly or went to the union. Even workers experiencing a high sense of inequity rarely resorted to deviant activity. The union was the most important element in the selection of responses because it had done much to ensure that fair procedures existed at work. The work group also played a key role in shaping workers' actions by influencing the perception of risk and the available opportunities. Risk was high because careful records were kept and workers policed themselves due to their organization and payment system. The union's influence underscores the importance of institutionally developed conflict-resolving mechanisms. Finally, the union must be strong if it is to exert a positive influence over workers. Over 50 references. (Author abstract modified)


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