Control balance theory indicates that the control one exercises relative to the control one experiences, or the control balance ratio, should relate to specific forms of deviance. Control surpluses, or when control exercised is greater than control experienced, should relate to autonomous forms of deviance, whereas control deficits, or when control experienced is greater than control exercised, should relate to repressive forms of deviance. To date, control balance theory has been investigated empirically only to a limited extent, with mixed to supportive results. This paper presents an application of control balance theory to the autonomous deviant act of exploitation in a corporate crime context. Both control balance theory and the extant corporate crime literature offer impetus for such an investigation. Using data collected on working adults, the results support the key hypothesis that control surpluses rather than control deficits relate to exploitative acts in the corporate context. This finding holds with two control balance ratio measures, global and workplace-specific. Future theoretical and empirical research directions are outlined.
- Control balance
- Corporate crime