Defining and Understanding fraud: A South African Case Study

Business Ethics Quarterly 10 (4):885-895 (2000)


The detrimental impact of fraud on organisations, the economy, and society makes the fight against it imperative. The objective of this article is to show that a proper understanding of the phenomenon of fraud is required in order to be able to undermine it. Such an understanding required firstly a sufficient definition of fraud that can distinguish it clearly from the related phenomenon of corruption. Secondly, a theoretical framework for understanding and explaining fraud is needed. After providing both such a definition and a theoretical framework, the latter is then used in the analysis of interviews conducted with persons who were convicted on chargesof fraud in South Africa. The findings of this analysis are then used to suggest various avenues for fighting fraud. Among these suggestions are proposals indicating the role that ethical values can play in undermining fraud

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