Encyclopedia of Security and Emergency Management

Living Edition
| Editors: Lauren R. Shapiro, Marie-Helen Maras

Retail Shrink: Employee Theft

  • Lauren R. ShapiroEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69891-5_235-1


Retail employee theft involves “the theft of anything of value from the retailer by an employee or accomplice” (Mishra and Prasad 2006, p. 817). Five specific crimes are categorized under employee theft or asset misappropriation – fraudulent disbursements, intellectual theft, embezzlement, larceny, and skimming (Bailey 2006).


Employee theft includes misappropriation of tangible and nontangible assets through fraudulent disbursements (e.g., paid for time not worked), intellectual theft (e.g., selling information to competitor), embezzlement (e.g., stealing cash), larceny (e.g., stealing merchandise), and skimming cash from the register (Bailey 2006). Retail stores sell a variety of goods (e.g., clothes, food, drugs, music, candy) for public consumption and use but lose a significant portion of their profits due to employee theft (Martin et al. 2014). Retailers purport that embezzlement, larceny, and skimming by employees, either alone or in collusion with...


Internal retail crime Fraudulent disbursements Intellectual theft Embezzlement Larceny Skimming 
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Further Reading

  1. 1.
    Brady, M. K., Vorhees, C. M., & Brusco, M. J. (2012). Service sweethearting: Its antecedents and customer consequences. Journal of Marketing, 76(2), 81–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hayes, R. (2007). Employee deviance. In Retail security and loss prevention (pp. 3–16). London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kennedy, J. P. (2016). Sharing the keys to the kingdom: Responding to employee theft by empowering employees to be guardians, place managers, and handlers. Journal of Crime and Justice, 39(4), 512–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lyons, B. D., & Bowling, N. A. (2017). On the effectiveness of peer reporting policies. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 32(8), 547–560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Security, Fire, and Emergency ManagementJohn Jay College of Criminal JusticeNew YorkUSA