Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Fraud Prevention and Employee Rationalization in New York State Public Schools
by Slezak, Kathleen, Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2013, 151; 3611898
Abstract (Summary)

Prompted by frequent media reports of school fraud and a lack of relevant K-12 literature, this research study was designed to investigate current fraud prevention practices in public school districts in New York State. Using a "fraud triangle" model, an analysis of existing legislation and professional practice guidelines reveals that an integral element is being overlooked in current fraud prevention efforts, namely employee attitudes (more formally rationalization).

In an effort to fill this gap, management and accounting literature is used to identify ten specific practices associated with a decreased likelihood of fraud rationalization in the business setting. Primary research is then used to ascertain the extent to which these business practices have been implemented in New York State public schools. HLM is used to examine the nature of the relationship between the presence of these practices within a school district and employee attitudes about rationalization, as a proxy measure of fraud risk.

Data concerning both district practices and employee attitudes about fraud were collected using an online survey of 938 employees from 56 randomly selected K-12 school districts in New York State. Findings reveal low or non-existent levels of district implementation for eight of the ten suggested fraud prevention strategies. However, where strategies have been implemented, employees are less likely to report rationalization about fraud. (As the number of strategies increases, rationalization tends to decrease.) The effect of individual strategies is examined. Several district and employee demographic factors are also found to have mitigating effects.

Based on the results of this research and analysis, specific recommendations are presented in an attempt to improve school district fraud prevention efforts. The analysis also suggests areas where follow-up research studies are warranted in light of this new base-line data.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Schiller, Kathryn
Commitee: O'Connell, Raymond, Wagner, Alan P.
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Educational Administration and Policy Studies
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 75/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Business administration, School administration, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Fraud prevention, HLM, Legislation, Neutralization, Public school districts, Rationalization, White collar crime
Publication Number: 3611898
ISBN: 978-1-303-72999-7
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