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Research on Non-Participant Awareness of Industrial Pilferage

NCJ Number
E L Krey
Date Published
101 pages
Bystanders' awareness of industrial pilferage was studied by means of a literature review and an experiment involving a simulated pilfering incident before employees of a pharmaceutical house.
Study subjects were 25 male employees and 25 female employees of the company. Dressed as a coworker, the first researcher feigned an act of pilferage. A second researcher asked subjects to answer questions about themselves and about the act of pilferage to determine differences in their awareness. The intent was to assess whether or not subjects' sex, age, marital status, religious denomination, and years of formal education had an effect on awareness and reporting. Results indicated that all subjects were unlikely to report thieves to the authorities. However, women were even less likely than men to report the pilferage incident. Moreover, nonparticipant bystanders were not uniformly effective in their accuracy of observation, their reaction to pilferage, and their judgment about a perceived act of pilferage. Results varied for males and females regarding the effects of other personal characteristics. It was concluded that the traditional security guard service has not demonstrated an ability to prevent pilferage, and that successful pilferage control must operate through a collaborative relationship among all people involved in an industrial organization, as well as through joint commitment to profit maximization through shared diagnosis and action planning. Tables, 60 references, and an appendix presenting the study instrument are included.