Management and Consulting Services

A Lack of Emotional Control


6494177The following is not my material…wish I would have thought of it, or studied it myself—I cannot claim it, but it is here for you. Many times in presentations or programs, and in much of the “fraud” literature, reading, and research information that’s “out there,” you bump into this concept labeled “The Fraud Triangle.”  Not to be outdone, either in terms of geometry or in critically-hyped commentary, others have now added to it and coined, “The Fraud Quadrilateral.”  I recently even encountered the “Fraud Pentagon.” We may soon need full calculus to describe the circumstances causing individuals to commit fraud.

A corporate psychologist and professor-buddy of mine has a much different approach.  He calls the geometric progression and all of the related and extended characteristics or explanations, “lame.”  He further posits his personal reasons for why these things are lame “…because the central cause of crime is a lack of emotional control…(T)he major theory in Criminology.”  To go further, he claims “individual accountability or personal responsibility is (simply) missing.” So, let’s define this with more simplicity, more clarity, more “accountability” ourselves.  Fraud is a choice between “right and wrong”…nothing more, nothing less.  It is NOT something which requires ethical principles or associated criteria to determine appropriate behavior in circumstantial or situational analysis (ad infinitum).  According to my professor-buddy, fraud is simply the result of this individual character flaw…“a lack of emotional control.” If you cannot exhibit emotional control, a tenet within the study of criminology, you are likely to commit a crime. Oh, and fraud is a crime…no excuses. So let’s deal with it exactly that way, and exploit the proven resources that identify it, detect it, and prevent it.  We have that data and plenty of examples too; there’s more work to do.