By Kelly Pope, School of Accountancy – We all consider ourselves honest, hard-working people who strive to do the right thing. But do we? What are those small missteps that allow us to cross the line and engage in unethical actions that can alter our life indefinitely?
As I have spent the past four years developing the educational white-collar crime documentary “Crossing the Line: Ordinary People Committing Extraordinary Crimes,” I have met some of the nicest people. You would never suspect they would embezzle $9 million, duplicate bonus checks, duplicate expense reimbursement forms, falsify loan documents or create fictitious financial transactions. In fact, they were often described by colleagues as honest people: “She was the nicest person in the office” or “I would let her keep my kids” or “He was such a hard worker.”
As I have interviewed many white-collar felons through these years, people have often asked me if I have noticed a pattern. I think about this question after each interview and the conclusions that I have determined are the following:
- All white-collar felons are not created equal. An individual’s rationalization for engaging in such behavior can range from corporate pressures, spousal pressure, a traumatic family illness or job loss. The felon who steals from the company typically has a completely different rationalization than the felon who succumbs to CEO and corporate pressure.
- “I didn’t think I would actually get caught.” Many of the felons truly did not believe that they would get caught. They thought their fraud would only be a “one-time fraud” and no one in the company would ever find out. The discovery of fraud is usually just the tip of the iceberg. Just remember: you will get caught. In our current environment in which the whistle-blower is praised and protected, “Big Brother is watching.”
- A sense of entitlement. This was a pattern I noticed more in the felons I interviewed who embezzled money and not so much in the people dealing with corporate pressure. It appears that they believed that they were taking “what was owed to them.”
“Crossing the Line” has been the most hands-on research project I have ever taken on. I have learned more than I would have ever imagined regarding the psychology behind fraud. Click here if to view the trailer for the documentary.Kelly Richmond Pope is Assistant Professor in the School of Accountancy and Management Information Systems at DePaul University.
By Thomas A. Maier, School of Hospitality Leadership – DePaul University’s hospitality school has become the only one in the country to offer an MBA in Revenue Management. The program is a partnership between the School of Hospitality Leadership and the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business.
Now that the program has launched, many hospitality industry executives are thrilled that DePaul is educating students with business core fundamentals and revenue management competency skills that are in high demand.
In the hospitality industry, revenue management is an approach adopted by businesses that want to optimize their revenue stream. This is achieved by gaining a thorough understanding of the marketplace, the manipulation of product supply and demand, careful competitive positioning and timing. The goal is to optimize income revenue from a fixed but perishable inventory and use information to segment markets and adjust products through distribution channels.
The MBA revenue management concentration
focuses on the evolution of revenue management principles and practices within the hospitality sector. Revenue management concepts are addressed from a comprehensive perspective as they pertain to the importance of generating business revenues and contribution to overall financial performance within the hospitality industry. This field has advanced in both sophistication and complexity, increasing the need for enhanced development of human capital, investments in data analytics and integrated approaches to successful revenue generation.
The MBA in revenue management concentration, which includes two required courses and one tailored elective, is already being offered. Students can register through DePaul’s Campus Connect website and can email email@example.com
to learn more about the program. Thomas Maier is Assistant Professor of Leadership and Revenue Analytics in the School of Hospitality Leadership at DePaul University.