A study by the Munich-based Result Group has revealed findings on white-collar criminality which give rise to concern for small and medium-sized entities (SMEs). These findings show that SMEs are even more frequently affected by industrial spying than corporate groups. 3.500 German companies of any size and operating in different branches of industry took part in this study and were questioned on their experiences with white-collar criminality.
37 percent of companies surveyed became victim of white-collar crimes over the last two years. Another 20 percent assumed that there was a deliberate criminal offence in their company, but were, however, unable of clearly proving this. In 13 percent of all cases claimants suffered a drain of know-how which means that after typical offences such as theft, misappropriation and fraud, the loss of know-how presents one of the biggest risks to companies.
Here the findings discovered by the Result Group which is a consultancy on security issues with national and international customers: 54 percent of perpetrators of white-collar crimes were employees with 36 percent being executives and 4 percent even being members of company management. Due to fear of damage to reputation only 22 percent of all companies affected took rigorous legal action against the perpetrators. In many cases these were dismissed with an agreement being made binding both parties to secrecy.
Given that there are more comprehensive checks in corporate groups the number of crimes discovered there is much higher. Thus, 71.4 percent of groups, but only 30.8 percent of SMEs questioned registered cases of white-collar criminality. According to the study it is precisely preventive measures which provide protection against white-collar criminality. Only 28 percent of those companies which had established ethical guidelines for the protection against white-collar criminality and which had carried out controls frequently were affected. On the other side, those companies which were affected had not carried out background checks of their clients and business partners before starting business relations with them (79 percent of companies questioned).