The blame game is a term often used to describe a phenomenon which happens in groups of people when something goes wrong. The blame game hypothesis postulates that private investigators may be misled in their search for suspects, and that suspected individuals do not necessarily become subject to a fair investigation by financial crime specialists and fraud examiners. The rotten apple hypothesis postulates that it is comforting to assume that one bad apple within an organization is essentially responsible for the crime that is all too prevalent. The rotten apple view of white-collar crime is a comfortable perspective to apply to business and public organizations as it allows them to look no further than suspect a single individual. Based on a case study of the Norwegian company Hadeland and Ringerike Broadband, this article discusses blame game and rotten apple issues in an internal investigation report written by an external financial crime specialist. The study finds support for both hypotheses, as blame is mainly isolated to the criminal and his superior, and both board and top management are protected from scrutiny.
Gottschalk, Petter. 2016. “Blame game and rotten apples in private investigation reports: the case of Hadeland and Ringerike Broadband in Norway.” Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, 13(2):91-109