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Who’s to blame for time theft?

Most corporate firms view time theft as a form of fraud in which hourly employees manipulate timesheets or tracking systems to be paid for work unperformed. To help businesses effectively address time theft, Crystal Harold, Biyun Hu (PhD ’20) and their co-author investigated the many motives and forms it may take.

Research found that time theft typically takes the form of falsifying work hours, taking excessive breaks, excessive socialization, manipulating work speed and working on non-work activities. Motives for time theft included pay dissatisfaction, a desire to retaliate against one’s supervisor, boredom and not having enough role clarity.

Harold urges employers to address the root cause of time theft within their organization to create work environments that encourage productive behavior.