27 Jul 2022


Organized Crime from a Social Perspective

Format: APA

Academic level: College

Paper type: Essay (Any Type)

Words: 643

Pages: 2

Downloads: 0


A social institution is defined as a group of individuals who operate under an organized arrangement geared towards the achievement of a well-established and agreed upon goal. Ordinarily, a social institution must have a leader, a code of rules, and operating procedure. In many instances, there is also a certain threshold of qualification for membership as well as a form of initiation (Paoli, 2014) . On the other hand, organized crime can be defined as a group of individuals who have come together specifically for the purpose of involvement in illegal acts. In most cases, the involvement in illegal acts will be done for pecuniary purposes but there are exceptions. A legitimate organization will for some reason result in organized crime. Further, an organized crime syndicate can either completely turn to legitimate activities or operate legitimate activities as a cover for their criminal activities (Vaccaro & Palazzo, 2015) . Many scholars have sought to understand why people engage in organized crime and have resulted in various theories including the rational choice theory and the alien conspiracy theory but none conclusively explains the essence of organized crime. 

Organized Crime as a Social Institution 

A careful study of a majority of organized crime syndicates will lead to the conclusion that organized crime is indeed a form of a social institution. The first essence of congruency is based on the fact that organized crimes bring together individuals who are out to accomplish a similar goal. Whether the goal is criminal in nature or against established law is only a descriptive aspect that cannot negate the fact that the goal between the members is universal. A good example is the drug cartels that made Colombia famous in the 1980s (Vaccaro & Palazzo, 2015) . Their goal was to process cocaine and have them delivered to the USA and other places. This goal was their bond and qualified them as a social institution. The second qualification of organized crime as a social institution is the existence of a well-established leadership structure. Organized crime syndicates have always been known to have established and well respected leaders who superintend over the organizations. A good example of the same is Pablo Escobar, who was renowned as the leader of the Medellín Cartel in Colombia. Recognition of a leadership structure and adherence to it is another qualification of a social institution (Vaccaro & Palazzo, 2015) . 

It’s time to jumpstart your paper!

Delegate your assignment to our experts and they will do the rest.

Get custom essay

Two Criminology Theories relating to Organized Crime 

Rational choice theory is one of the criminology theories that seek to explain organized crimes. This theory explains organized crime as an economic choice and is based on the concept that individuals will make choices that they find most prudent and logical decisions based on envisaged personal satisfaction. This theory, therefore, shows organized crime and both a choice and an option taken by people who believe that criminal activities pay better than legitimate commerce (Paoli, 2014) . Alien conspiracy theory on the other hand is based on the premises that organized crimes are formed by orchestrated minorities, trying to survive in a work dominated by the majority. Therefore, organized crime does not begin as a prudent commercial option but rather a survival stratagem. A careful perusal research done on organized crime will show that in most cases, it is undertaken by minorities who are marginalized. Islamic fundamentalist syndicates are among the most notorious organized crime groups in the world and consist of minorities within a minority religion. The Italian Mafia mainly blossomed in Islands ands and marginalized rural areas. This makes the alien conspiracy theory more suitable to explain organized crime than the rational choice theory (Paoli, 2014) . 


In spite of them being illegal and protracted, from a sociological perspective, organized crime groups indeed qualify as social institutions. They have a well-organized leadership structure, a clear membership criterion and a sequence of leadership. The members carry out the principle endeavor under the superintendence of a leader. This is a text book example of a social institution. Further, most organized crime gangs are based on a minority demographic or ideological cross-section of society. The alien conspiracy theory is, therefore, more accurate in definition of the advent of organized crime than the rational choice theory. 


Paoli, L. (2014).  The Oxford handbook of organized crime . New York, NY: Oxford University Press 

Vaccaro, A., & Palazzo, G. (2015). Values against violence: Institutional change in societies dominated by organized crime. Academy of Management Journal, 58(4), 1075-1101 

Cite this page

Select style:


StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Organized Crime from a Social Perspective.


Related essays

We post free essay examples for college on a regular basis. Stay in the know!

17 Sep 2023
Criminal Justice

Research in Criminal Justice

Research is the primary tool for progressing knowledge in different fields criminal justice included. The results of studies are used by criminal justice learners, scholars, criminal justice professionals, and...

Words: 250

Pages: 1

Views: 165

17 Sep 2023
Criminal Justice

The Art of Taking and Writing Notes in Law Enforcement

Every individual must seek adequate measures to facilitate input for appropriate output in daily engagements. For law enforcement officers, the work description involving investigations and reporting communicates the...

Words: 282

Pages: 1

Views: 182

17 Sep 2023
Criminal Justice

Justice System Issues: The Joseph Sledge Case

The Joseph Sledge case reveals the various issues in the justice system. The ethical issues portrayed in the trial include the prosecutor's misconduct. To begin with, the prosecution was involved in suppressing...

Words: 689

Pages: 2

Views: 251

17 Sep 2023
Criminal Justice

Victim Advocacy: Date Rape

General practice of law requires that for every action complained of there must be probable cause and cogent evidence to support the claim. Lack thereof forces the court to dismiss the case or acquit the accused. It...

Words: 1247

Pages: 4

Views: 75

17 Sep 2023
Criminal Justice

New Rehabilitation and Evaluation

Introduction The rate of recidivism has been on the rise in the United States over the past two decades. Due to mass incarceration, the number of people in American prisons has been escalating. While people...

Words: 2137

Pages: 8

Views: 140

17 Sep 2023
Criminal Justice

Justification of Reflections and Recommendations

Credible understanding and application of criminal justice require adequacy of techniques in analyzing the crime scene, documenting the shooting scene, and analysis of ballistic evidence. The approaches used in...

Words: 351

Pages: 1

Views: 127


Running out of time?

Entrust your assignment to proficient writers and receive TOP-quality paper before the deadline is over.