Shoplifting as a consumer misbehaviour: an exploratory study of shoplifting applying a consumer behaviour approach

  • Michele Tonglet

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis is an exploratory, quantitative study, concerned with investigating shoplifting as a form of consumer behaviour. The theory of planned behaviour (Ajzen, 1991), a theory used in consumer research, is applied to situational crime prevention theory, in order to investigate the factors which facilitate or inhibit customer theft. The data were collected by means of two questionnaires. The first questionnaire was completed by 417 shoppers using the shopping centre of Northampton, 32% of whom admitted to shoplifting behaviour, with 7% having shoplifted in the previous 12 months. The second questionnaire was completed by 444 Northampton school students, 51% of whom admitted to shoplifting, with 18% having shoplifted in the previous 12 months. Analysis of the findings indicates that for the shoplifters in this study, shoplifting is a rational crime in that the financial benefits from shoplifting are perceived to outweigh the risks and costs of being caught. Their shoplifting behaviour is facilitated by their lack of moral concerns about shoplifting, their positive attitudes to the behaviour, and peer influence. In comparison, the non-shoplifters were inhibited by their anti-shoplifting attitudes, their strong moral views about shoplifting, social pressure not to engage in the behaviour, and the shoplifting prevention strategies of retailers.
    Date of Award1999
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Northampton
    SupervisorJoshua Bamfield (Supervisor), Reva Brown (Supervisor) & David Smith (Supervisor)

    Cite this