Skip to main content

Self-Control Theory and The Office

“That’s What She Said”: Michael Scott and Self-Control Theory

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Theories of Crime Through Popular Culture
  • 1701 Accesses

Abstract

Gottfredson and Hirschi’s (1990) self-control theory is perhaps one of the most parsimonious, yet debated, criminological theories. Researchers have applied the theory to several deviant behaviors, and it also addresses the issue of behaviors analogous to crime. Using the Grasmick scale (Grasmick, Tittle, Bursik, & Arneklev, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 30, 5–29, 1993) with Higgins’ (Criminal Justice and Behavior, 34(2), 157–178, 2007) revisions, this chapter aims to demonstrate specific behaviors that measure individual levels of self-control. Michael Scott of NBC’s The Office often engages in behaviors that reflect the six constructs of the scale: impulsivity, simple tasks, risk-seeking, physical activities, self-control, and temper. Though his actions often led to feelings of frustration, irritation, and anger among his employees, Michael’s hijinks kept viewers enthralled for seven seasons and made the show one of the most iconic in history.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 29.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 37.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

Notes

  1. 1.

    The Grasmick Scale was then used as a measurement tool in subsequent research studies (e.g., Grasmick et al., 1993), but through quantitative analysis and validity testing, Higgins (2007) found that the original Grasmick scale does not have construct validity and that items 2, 6, 9, 12, 13, 19, 20, and 22 (see Table 10.1) should be omitted from the scale to improve the use of the Grasmick Scale as a measure of self-control.

References

  • Arneklev, B. J., Elis, F., & Medlicott, S. (2006). Testing the General Theory of Crime: Comparing the effects of “imprudent behavior” and an attitudinal indicator of “low self-control.” Western Criminology Review, 7(3), 41–55.

    Google Scholar 

  • Baker, J. O. (2010). The Expression of Low Self-Control as Problematic Drinking in Adolescents: An Integrated Control Perspective. Journal of Criminal Justice, 38(3), 237–244.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barlow, H. D. (1991). Review Essay: Explaining Crimes and Analogous Acts, or the Unrestrained Will Grab at Pleasure Whenever They Can. The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 82(1), 229–242.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chui, W. H., & Chan, H. C. (2016). The Gendered Analysis of Self-Control on Theft and Violent Delinquency: An Examination of the Hong Kong Adolescent Population. Crime and Delinquency, 62(12), 1648–1677.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Conner, B. T., Stein, J. A., & Longshore, D. (2008). Examining Self-Control as a Multidimensional Predictor of Crime and Drug Use in Adolescents with Criminal Histories. Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, 36(2), 137–149.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Donner, C. M., Fridell, L. A., & Jennings, W. G. (2016). The Relationship Between Self-Control and Police Misconduct: A Multi-Agency Study of First-Line Police Supervisors. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 43(7), 841–862.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ellwanger, S. J., & Pratt, T. C. (2014). Self-Control, Negative Affect, and Young Driver Aggression: An Assessment of Competing Theoretical Claims. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 58(1), 85–106.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ford, J. A., & Blumenstein, L. (2013). Self-Control and Substance Use Among College Students. Journal of Drug Issues, 43(1), 56–68.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Grasmick, H. G., Tittle, C. R., Bursik, R. J., & Arneklev, B. J. (1993). Testing the Core Empirical Implications of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s General Theory of Crime. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 30, 5–29.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gottfredson, M. R., & Hirschi, T. (1990). A general theory of crime. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Higgins, G. E. (2007). Examining the Original Grasmick Scale: A Rasch Model Approach. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 34(2), 157–178.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jaremko-Greenwold, A. (2015, March 24). Why Michael Scott Is One of the Most Original Characters of All Time. Indie Wire. Retrieved from https://www.indiewire.com/2015/03/the-office-10-years-later-why-michael-scott-is-one-of-the-most-original-characters-of-all-time-248114/

  • Jones, S., Lynam, D. R., & Piquero, A. R. (2015). Substance Use, Personality, and Inhibitors: Testing Hirschi’s Predictions About the Reconceptualization of Self-Control. Crime & Delinquency, 61(4), 538–558.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Leeper Piquero, N., Schoepfer, A., & Langton, L. (2010). Complete Out of Control or the Desire to Be in Complete Control? How Low Self-Control and the Desire for Control Relate to Corporate Offending. Crime & Delinquency, 56(4), 627–647.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Seipel, C., & Eifler, S. (2010). Opportunity, Rational Choice, and Self-Control: On the Interaction of Person and Situation in a General Theory of Crime. Crime & Delinquency, 56(2), 167–197.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sheffield, R. (2016, September 21). 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. Rolling Stone. Retrieved from https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-lists/100-greatest-tv-shows-of-all-time-105998/eastbound-and-down-106484/

  • Zavala, E., & Kurtz, D. L. (2017). Using Gottfredson and Hirschi’s A General Theory of Crime to Explain Problematic Alcohol Consumption by Police Officers: A Test of Self-Control as Self-Regulation. Journal of Drug Issues, 47(3), 505–522.

    Article  Google Scholar 

For Further Reading

  • Hirschi, T., & Gottfredson, M. R. (2000). In Defense of Self-Control. Theoretical Criminology, 4(1), 55–69.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Episodes

    Health Care (Season 1, Episode 3)

    • Daniels, G., Kaling, M., Lieberstein, P. (Writers), & Whittingham, K. (Director). (2005). Health Care [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Sexual Harassment (Season 2, Episode 2)

    • Daniels, G., Novak, B. J. (Writers), & Kwapis, K. (Director). (2005). Sexual Harassment [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    The Fire (Season 2, Episode 4)

    • Daniels, G., Novak, B. J. (Writers), & Kwapis, K. (Director). (2005). The Fire [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    The Fight (Season 2, Episode 6)

    • Stupnitsky, G., Eisenberg, L. (Writers), & Kawpis, K. (Director). (2005). The Fight [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Michael’s Birthday (Season 2, Episode 19)

    • Daniels, G., Eisenberg, L., Stupnitsky, G. (Writers), & Whittingham, K. (Director). (2006). Michael’s Birthday [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Drug Testing (Season 2, Episode 20)

    • Daniels, G., Celotta, J. (Writers), & Daniels, G. (Director). (2006). Drug Testing [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    The Convict (Season 3, Episode 9)

    • Daniels, G., Gervais, R., Merchant, S. (Writers), & Blitz, J. (Director). (2007). The Convict [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, K. Kwapis, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Back from Vacation (Season 3, Episode 11)

    • Daniels, G., Spitzer, J. (Writers), & Farino, J. (Director). (2007). Back from Vacation [Television Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, S. Merchant (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Women’s Appreciation (Season 3, Episode 21)

    • Daniels, G., Eisenberg, L., Stupnitsky, G. (Writers), & Gates, T. (Director). (2007). Women’s Appreciation [Television Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, S. Merchant (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Beach Games (Season 3, Episode 22)

    • Daniels, G., Celotta, J. (Writers), & Ramis, H. (Director). (2007). Beach Games [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, & S. Merchant (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Fun Run (Season 4, Episode 1)

    • Daniels, G. (Writer), & Daniels, G. (Producer). (2007). Fun Run [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Money (Season 4, Episode 4)

    • Daniels, G., Lieberstein, P. (Writers), & Lieberstein, P. (Director). (2007). Money [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Local Ad (Season 4, Episode 5)

    • Daniels, G., Novak, B. J. (Writers), & Reitman, J. (Director). (2007). Local Ad [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Branch Wars (Season 4, Episode 6)

    • Daniels, G., Kaling, M. (Writers), & Whedon, J. (Director). (2007). Branch Wars [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Survivor Man (Season 4, Episode 7)

    • Carell, S., Daniel, G. (Writers), & Feig, P. (Director). (2007). Survivor Man [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Weight Loss Part II (Season 5, Episode 2)

    • Daniels, G., Eisenberg, L., Stupnitsky, G. (Writers), & Feig, P. (Director). (2008). Weight Loss Part II [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, P. Liberstein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Business Ethics (Season 5, Episode 3)

    • Daniels, G., Koh, R. (Writers), & Blitz, J. (Director). (2008). Business Ethics [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, P. Lieberstein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Frame Toby (Season 5, Episode 9)

    • Daniels, G., Kaling, M. (Writers), & Reitman, J. (Director). (2008). Frame Toby [Television Series Episode]. In J. Celotta, G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, P. Lieberstein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    The Surplus (Season 5, Episode 10)

    • Daniels, G., Eisenberg, L., & Stupnitsky, G. (Writers), & Feig, P. (Director). (2008). The Surplus [Television Series Episode]. In J. Celotta, G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, P. Lieberstein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Michael Scott Paper Company (Season 5, Episode 23)

    • Daniels, G., Spitzer, J. (Writers), & Stupnitsky, G. (Director). (2009). Michael Scott Paper Company [Television Series Episode]. In J. Celotta, G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, P. Lieberstein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Gossip (Season 6, Episode 1)

    • Daniels, G., Lieberstein, P. (Writers), & Liberstein, P. (Director). (2009). Gossip [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, P. Lieberstein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    The Promotion (Season 6, Episode 3)

    • Celotta, J., Daniels, G. (Writers), & Celotta, J. (Director). (2009). The Promotion [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, P. Lieberstein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Double Date (Season 6, Episode 9)

    • Daniels, G., Grandy, C. (Writers), & Gordon, S. (Director). (2009). Double Date [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, P. Lieberstein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Murder (Season 6, Episode 10)

    • Chun, D., Daniels, G. (Writers), & Daniels, G. (Director). (2009). Murder [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, P. Lieberstein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Scott’s Tots (Season 6, Episode 12)

    • Daniels, G., Eisenberg, L., & Stupnitsky, G. (Writers), & Novak, B. J. (Director). (2009). Scott’s Tots [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, P. Lieberstein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Nepotism (Season 7, Episode 1)

    • Chun, D., Daniels, G. (Writers), & Blitz, J. (Director). (2010). Nepotism [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, P. Liebersterin, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Counseling (Season 7, Episode 2)

    • Daniels, G., Novak, B. J. (Writers), & Blitz, J. (Director). (2010). Counseling [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, P. Lieberstein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Christening (Season 7, Episode 7)

    • Daniels, G., Ocko, P. (Writers), & Hardcastle, A. (Director). (2010). Christening [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, P. Lieberstein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Viewing Party (Season 7, Episode 8)

    • Daniels, G., Vitti, J. (Writers), & Whittingham, K. (Director). (2010). Viewing Party [Television Series Episode]. In G. Daniels, R. Gervais, H. Klein, P. Lieberstein, S. Merchant, & B. Silverman (Executive Producers), The Office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

      Google Scholar 

    Download references

    Author information

    Authors and Affiliations

    Authors

    Corresponding author

    Correspondence to Sarah E. Daly .

    Editor information

    Editors and Affiliations

    Rights and permissions

    Reprints and permissions

    Copyright information

    © 2021 The Author(s)

    About this chapter

    Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

    Cite this chapter

    Daly, S.E., Painter, C. (2021). Self-Control Theory and The Office. In: Daly, S.E. (eds) Theories of Crime Through Popular Culture. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54434-8_10

    Download citation

    • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54434-8_10

    • Published:

    • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

    • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-54433-1

    • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-54434-8

    • eBook Packages: Law and CriminologyLaw and Criminology (R0)

    Publish with us

    Policies and ethics