Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Jeffrey Prinster

Abstract

The world economy loses an estimated $3.5 trillion annually due to fraud. A weakened economy leads to additional hardships for individuals, families, and organizations. General strain theory (GST) posits that certain strains lead to negative emotional responses, and the result is delinquent behavior. The purpose of this research was to analyze the relationship between strain and occupational fraud through the theoretical framework of GST. The research questions addressed (a) occupational frauds as measured by strain levels of perpetrators, (b) the relationship between strain scores and the different occupational fraud types, and (c) the significance of the relationship between fraud motivation and each of the occupational fraud types. A quantitative, cross-sectional study using secondary data from the ACFE Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse database, was conducted to examine the relationship between strain, negative emotionality, and occupational fraud crimes. To examine this relationship, a sample of 2,910 cases were tested using nominal regression, logistic regression, and Pearson correlation. The results indicated that strain is significantly related to asset misappropriation and financial statement frauds. The results also showed that work-related motivation is significantly related to financial statement frauds. Scholars and practitioners should focus on agendas related to strain, work-related motivation, and financial statement frauds. Fewer fraud losses will positively impact society through increased employment opportunities, additional tax revenues for all levels of government, and increased cash flows for investors.