This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.
War is the oldest form of competition between human organizations. Humans have been fighting for millennia and war has driven the evolution of techniques for organizing, leading and motivating large numbers of people (Clausewitz, 1976). There are many similarities between military and business planning. Both business and military definitions address future objectives and an on-going and defined process for achieving and reaching those goals (Green, 2008).
This paper explores the possibilities to subsume business and war in the same emotional and behavioral framework. Many parallels between business and war can be found in the way people speak and think, in organization and leadership, and in the technology used to support planning and decisions. Both military and business planning require effective leadership. Effective leadership requires a vision that must be converted to action. To do so a certain kind of characteristics are required (Green, 2008). These characteristics are ethics, professional skills, process, and organization. Many effective leaders use these basic characteristics to implement and sustain their vision in order to develop the strategies to plan and guide the direction of a business or the military operation (Green, 2008).
Successful leaders have often been of questionable moral character. A persistent image in the political and corporate sphere is that of the active and powerful man willing to do whatever is strategically important in attaining his desired ends even though doing so may weigh heavily on his conscience (Calhoun, 2004). The purpose of this paper is to define the terms war and corporate crime and relate them to one another by focusing on the motivations, emotions and behavioral aspect of their leaders. War and corporate crime resemble each other in that both cost society many times more victims and harm than other types of crimes and both have similar motivations and goals as well. Understanding what motivates these crimes of greed will give us a better understanding of how people committing these acts work and how we can influence them to prevent these victimizing deeds. The central question for this paper is:
How do emotions and motivations of governmental leaders leading their countries to war compare to these aspects for corporate leaders committing corporate crime?
Is 'warfare' predominated by human emotions instead of rational choices? And does it matter whether a leader leads a country or a company to war? Developing theories that involve emotion face a barrier: the absence of single meaning of the concept of emotion. This complexity is illustrated by the chaos of expert meanings for love, shame pride, anger and fear (Scheff, 2007). In order to compare the similarities and differences in emotions that both corporate and governmental leaders have to "go to war" and to commit their criminal acts, we first look at what corporate crime is about, why do corporate leaders commit these crimes? We try to find out if there is an overlap in what war is about. Do corporate and governmental leaders have the same purpose? After that we concentrate on motivations and the emotional aspects. In our conclusion we analyze how emotional and behavioral aspects of corporate crime compare to warfare.
2. What is corporate crime about?
Corporate crime, better known as white-collar crime, is a topic that is relatively unstudied and often not well understood. Edwin Sutherland was the first to coin the definition of white-collar crime back in 1949 (Ruggiero, 1996). He defined white-collar crime as "crimes committed by persons of respectability and high social status in the course of their occupation". Sutherland argues that the causal factor of corporate crime is not necessarily poverty or the need for financial security, but more so the interpersonal and social relations which are associated sometimes with poverty and sometimes with wealth (Ruggiero, 1996). According to Pontell and Geis (2007) corporate crime is usually about offenses committed by middle and upper-class professionals for personal gain or to achieve organizational goals. It encompasses crimes such as fraud, perjury, false statements, bribery, obstruction of justice, extortion, blackmail, tax evasion, and insider trading. Conversely, Green (2006) suggested a more specified term for corporate crime known as occupational crime and defined it as "any act punishable by law which is committed through opportunity created in the course of an occupation that is legal". Green (2006) suggested the criterion of legal occupation because otherwise occupational crime would encompass all crimes. For the purposes of this paper we will follow a new definition combining both Green and Sutherland's definition of what we nowadays know as corporate crime. Corporate crime is "any act punishable by law which is committed by persons of respectability and high social status due to opportunity created in the course of their legal occupation to achieve the desired self-interests or organizational goals".
Thus, corporate crime is about leaders; respectable persons who in the course of their occupation commit crimes, not only to achieve organizational goals, but also for personal gain like social status and respectability. These crimes are influenced by both interpersonal and social relations. In the next chapter we look at what war is about and see if we can find any similarities between the two concepts.
3. What is war about?
War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political communities (Orend, 2006). Classical war is international war, a war between different states, like the two World Wars. But just as frequent is war within a state between rival groups or communities, like the American Civil War. Political pressure groups, like terrorist organizations, might also be considered "political communities," in that they are associations of people with a political purpose who aspire to statehood or to influence the development of statehood in certain lands (Clausewitz, 1976).
Warfare is about governance. War is a violent way for determining who gets to say what goes on in a given territory, for example, regarding: who gets power, who gets wealth and resources, whose ideals prevail, who is a member and who is not, where the border rests and so on. Ultimately, war is anthropological: it is about which group of people gets to say what goes on in a given territory (Orend, 2006). In this definition of war we see how the purpose of civil war is related to the goals of companies to gain territory and raise profits for the company. Wars, depending on one's perspective, have been fought for economic, political or psychological reasons.
Similarly, corporate crime could also be viewed as war. A corporate war to gain power, territory, status and the most amount of profit possible. Moreover, leaders of wars have the same perspectives as corporate leaders; they are mostly respectable persons, who in the course of their occupation commit harmful deeds to achieve power, status and respectability. Like war, a corporation is like a family unit. Everyone works together for a common end. At some point both government and corporations realized that they needed more power in order to function well in society, which meant removing every constraint that were in the way of them getting the power they needed (from the movie "The Corporation, 2003"). Both war and corporation consist of an association of people who are appointed by the government to do some good for society. However, due to strife and greed both became "monsters" trying to devour as much profit as possible at others' expense (from the movie "The Corporation, 2003").
In the next chapter we will discuss the motivations of leaders to 'fight'. We will compare motivations of corporate and governmental leaders to go to war and look at the behavioral and emotional aspects to lead their companies and countries to combat.
4. Leaders' motivations to fight
"A conflict is always an attempt at altering either the psychological hierarchy or the material hierarchy of domination or equality between two or more groups. In all cases, at least one participant (group) in the conflict perceives the need to either psychologically or materially dominate the other participant"(Clausewitz, 1976). But what are, next to rational motives, the motivations to fight? In this chapter we will pay attention to non-rational motives for warring behavior.
4.1 It's our nature
According to philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1660), the state of nature is a state of war. As a result, humans are instinctively impelled to fight and engage in war behavior. One characteristic of mankind's aggressive nature is its tendency to be released primarily on members of the same species. This observation suggests that people are naturally threatened by external competition. The aggressive trait has its uses. It serves to stake out territory to ensure that there are adequate resources for survival. This usefulness of aggression has kept it prevalent in humans and explains the warring behavior of people. The very nature of people is an action of war and to look for conflicts. It is the instinct in man, out of his feeling of weakness, to form groups which are more powerful than
himself. The vie for dominance and control from the source of wealth to make their own group (country or corporation) more powerful and other groups submissive (Zimmerman, 2003).
Conflicts manifest themselves between persons, groups and nations. Behavioral symptoms of these conflicts are violence, murder, betrayal, physical and verbal abuse. Emotional symptoms of these conflicts include fear, frustration, jealousy, arrogance, anger and hate (Zimmerman, 2007). The cause of war is our own human instincts, as Hobbes stated, and their emotional structures. Psychologist Abraham Maslow (1971) found that when a person is unable to satisfy any of his needs, the instinct to fight becomes active in the brain. This operates at all levels of relationships. We see our fellow humans as points of conflict. Others are seen as necessary only insofar as they serve our purpose. According to Maslow (1971) relations are judged by how much they contribute to our own selfish interests.
Competiveness in business can be seen as an instinctive aggressive attitude towards competitors in the economic field. As Keel (2008) states; white-collar criminals are motivated by two factors: economic struggle and greed; the need to maintain a certain status and power within society. Therefore, when legitimate or conventional methods to attain a certain organizational goal is difficult or impossible, many of us whether as individual or as corporate actors will resort to illegitimate or deviant ways to achieve those desired goals (Keel, 2008). People use their natural aggression to defend their (business) territory. Their nature is to make their own group (company, nation) more powerful.
4.2 Emotions as cause
Current explanations of the causes of war and corporate crime are dominated by a 'realist' ideology. This view assumes that human behavior is motivated by 'objective', non-emotional elements and that conscious calculation of material benefits and losses figures prominently in the instigation of war and corporate crime (Scheff, 1999). We will not argue against the importance of objective motives and calculation in human affairs, but we will try to frame the 'realist' view within a larger perspective that includes both emotional elements such as love, anger, confidence, stress and fear.
4.2.1 Negative emotions
Emotions are central components of human reactions to many types of stimuli. Essential combat is an expression of hostile feelings. Combat gives rise to the element of danger, which produces an instinctive emotional reaction; fear. These emotions can never be completely absent from war (Clausewitz, 1976). Scherer (1994) maintains that emotions are an interface that mediates between environmental input and behavioral output. He also finds in his research that a negative emotional state (fear, anger, shame) has a direct effect on risk behavior. A negative emotional state leads to more risk-acceptant behavior. Collective panics such as those that take place under the threat of fire or other
emergencies are caused by shame/fear spirals, one's own fear and that of others reflecting back and forth can cause still more fear, leading to a recursive loop and causing aggressive behaviour as a result (Scheff, 2007)
Goffman (1956) implies that masculine men have 'character'. A man with character who is under stress is not going to cry and blubber like a woman or child might. The hyper masculine pattern promotes competition, rather than connection between individuals. Social occasions are seen as opportunities for one to test one's own character as compared to the other person or persons. This is one of the ideas crucial to the understanding of unnecessary conflict: the cult of masculinity promotes individuality at the cost of community. Walsh (1971) argues that war is caused by leaders that seek war such as Napoleon and Hitler. He states that wars only occur when leaders with a psychologically abnormal disregard for human life are placed into power.
Anger and fear are both emotions that can lead to conflict. To protect our territory, health, wealth, happiness, we attack those who we perceive as dangerous, out of anger or out of fear. Being afraid to lose what is important to us can lead to accept and commit illegal acts which can be hurtful to other people (Katz, 1999).
From the discussion above we can conclude that negative emotions play an important role in human behavior; negative emotions lead to more risk-accepting behavior, anger and fear can lead to conflict. What does this mean for warring behavior? Corporate criminals commit corporate crime due to greed and not knowing when enough is enough because for most of them there is never enough profit, there is always room for more. Like countries at war, their need for more power and profit outweigh the consequences of their actions which in many cases are irreparable harms done to people, animals and the environment. Their fear to lose their status, their positions within the organization, within the economic markets, within international relationships, encourages them to attack those who they perceive as dangerous.
Thus, corporate criminals and governmental leaders, while their job is to do some common good for society, end up fulfilling economic (self) interests at the cost of the lives of many people in society without feeling any emotional attachment to the harm done on society because their emotions are strongly attached to the profit being made, the power they have, despite the damaging consequences it may have on others (from the movie "The Corporation, 2003").
4.2.2 Positive emotions
Montesquieu declared that once in a (political) society, men lose their feeling of weakness: whereupon, their former equality disappears and the state of war begins. With the creation of government, people begin to associate with an exclusive political unit and therefore, potentially against another group. They feel a sense of security when coalesced in a group, and therefore, are more willing to display discontent or aggression. As a result, alliances develop between groups that can potentially lead to the outbreak of wars (Gallie, 1991).
Fornari (1975) thought that war and violence develop out of our "love need": our wish to preserve and defend the sacred object to which we are attached, namely our early mother and our fusion with her. For the adult, nations are the sacred objects that generate warfare. Fornari (1975) focused upon sacrifice as the essence of war: the astonishing willingness of human beings to die for their country, to give over their bodies to their nation. Michael Billig (1995) has made the point that nationalism, a strong emotional attachment to one's own nation, is probably the single most significant causal element in wars between nations. That is to say that the leading motive for killing in the modern world is not in the name of one's self or family, one's city or state, but one's nation, an imagined community, rather than the people who one actually knows. Billig's thesis points toward the necessity of understanding collective emotions: why are so many so desperately and intensely attached to their homeland that they deem it more important than their own lives and those of the "enemy?" Although this question seems shockingly obvious, most current studies do not ask it; much less provide a plausible answer. We may need an analysis of the dynamics of individual and collective emotions in order to answer such a question.
For corporate crime all this would mean that corporate leaders would put the benefits of the company above their personal needs. This idea is supported by Pontell & Geis (2007), they found in their research on corporate crime that it is often motivated by the need to increase corporate efficiency and profitability. Individuals commit these crimes to reduce company expenses, which increases profits. Moreover, fraud occurs when an individual or corporation is intentionally misled for profit. A company may misrepresent products, or use misleading advertising to increase sales. These crimes are committed, once again, with the intention of increasing corporate profits (Pontell & Geis, 2007). Anti-competitive business practices include offenses such as unfair pricing and taking over products and markets. Both of these crimes are designed to disable competitors. Again, the motivation is corporate profitability (Pontell & Geis, 2007). Thus, corporate crime can be committed out of "love need" for a company, just as war does according to Fornari (1975).
There is a strong tradition in modern scholarship in the human sciences of ignoring emotions as causes of crime. In this paper we researched the parallel between the emotions that lead to corporate crime and those that lead to contemporary warfare. Can emotions cause warring behavior?
As we have seen the very nature of people is an action of war. It is the instinct in man, out of his feeling of weakness, to form groups which are more powerful than himself. These groups pit themselves against each other.They compete for dominance and control of the sources of wealth to make their own group more powerful and other groups submissive. Through this interpretation, we see our fellow humans as points of conflict, with separate interests which are antagonistic to our own. Others are seen as necessary only insofar as they serve our purposes. Each person is judged, and their importance varies by how much they contribute to our own selfish interests. To protect what we perceive as a threat to our way of life, we attack those who we perceive as dangerous. The problem is that doubt and fear lead to unreal perceptions. These false ideas cause us to act in irrational ways. They cause us to reject those who would actually be the most beneficial to us.
We can conclude that emotions make an important contribution to warring behavior. We do not argue against the importance of objective motives but often these apparent calculated actions originate from emotions. Emotions are an interface that mediates between environmental input and behavioral output. The wish for material benefit origins in greed or jealousy, the desire for power can derive from fear, anger or shame, seeking competition might be the result of love. All these emotions are strong motivators to become decisive powerful leaders. It appears that these emotions contribute in the behavior of both corporate and governmental leaders to combat their enemies.
Perhaps the crucial question is not about the leaders, but the public. Why are they so often passive about a warring behavior that is obviously fraudulent, and for which they must pay with their earnings, and some with their lives? The important question to ask ourselves is how do we modify our own instincts and emotions to prevent conflicts from forming? When we see our fellow humans not as points of conflict, with separate interests, but as necessary parts of a larger social system in which each person is seen as equally important it would be unnecessary to 'go to war'. When corporate executives and politicians set aside their fear to lose power and become truthful and honest, when they would see that what they are doing is harmful to environment and hurtful to people they could create a better world, rather than tearing down the natural world of temporary gratification of the few elite. Given the current world situation, further exploration and study is urgently needed.