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Models of Organized Crime - Essay Example

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Organized crime is a term used for a transnational group that indulges in running a faction of centralized institutes. The purpose of this activity is to win monetary profit by committing illegal activities. It is a forbidden state of affairs in many countries but the definition employed for it varies from agency to agency…
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Models of Organized Crime Executive Summary Models of Organized Crime Executive Summary Organized crime is a term used for a transnational group that indulges in running a faction of centralized institutes. The purpose of this activity is to win monetary profit by committing illegal activities. It is a forbidden state of affairs in many countries but the definition employed for it varies from agency to agency. The United States addresses it as a highly organized group involved in committing unlawful activities (Federal Explosives Law). For factions like these to survive it is vital for them to be accepted by a few members of society. This means that these criminal organizations seek to prosper by corrupting officials of the country. Thus, respected members of society: policemen or law officers are bribed and coerced into allowing these individuals to follow through with their plans. There are two models that seek to explain the presence of organized crime in society: the bureaucratic/corporate model and the patrimonial/patron-client model (Abadinsky 2003). This essay seeks to understand the reasons and influence these two models play on organized crime.
The bureaucratic model survives on the tandem of efficiency. It is essential for large operations and activities. Thus, the individuals involved in conducting these organized crimes focus on bringing a degree of competence to the system to ensure it functions properly. This system works under Weber's definition of the various elements to an organization (1947). It needs rules, specialized training, division of labor and an authority. Thus the corporate model functions under one leader who is at the top according to the pyramidal system of authority. There is a system of specialized workers who function under this leader. And the authority maintains its power through various laws: vows of silence when communicating with a law officer. Thus, the larger the organization becomes, the more important it becomes to control it through this system of laws and power. An example of such a model is that of the Colombian cartels.
Another model that defines organized crime is the patron-client system. This model focuses on the bonds that tie together the organization. The patron is responsible for providing support and protection to the client. This client in turn becomes a respected and loyal member of the organization. This type of system relies on a conventional method of influence: personal relationships and rituals. The patron-client model is decentralized and thus difficult for the law enforcement to correct. There is no concept of authority or hierarchy in this model. It does not involve the participation of subordinates. Each group acts independently and is involved in there own type of entrepreneurial activity. The patron remains uninvolved in the activity of the clients which usually leads to their inability to oversee or control the crime. The American Mafia is considered one of the bodies functioning under this system of organized crime (Albini 1971).
Thus, both bodies serve to explain the idea of organized crime. They function as different types of factions but their work is similar. By maintaining their balance in organizational structure they keep their criminal activities intact.
Works Cited
Abadinsky H (2003), Organized Crime, Wadsworth Publishing
Albini J (1971), American Mafia, Ardent Media Inc.
Federal Explosives Law, Organized Crime Control Act of 19 70, Title XI, Available: < http://www.atf.gov/pub/fire-explo_pub/xcomplete.htm> [Accessed September 01 2009]
Weber, M (1947) Max Weber: The Theory of Social and Economic Organization. Translated by A. M. Henderson & Talcott Parsons. NY: The Free Press. Read More
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