The researchers examined a database of recent corporate frauds and found that women typically were not part of the conspiracy. When women did play a role, it was rarely a significant one.
"There has been this view for awhile that women are no more moral than men and that once there was more gender equality in the workforce, there would be more females involved in corporate crime," said Darrell Steffensmeier, professor of sociology and criminology, Penn State.
"That view goes back a long time but, at some point, we should get the point that something else may be happening," he added.
Steffensmeier said that about three out of four conspiracies to commit corporate fraud were all-male, and there was no report of an all-female conspiracy.
In most cases when women do take part in corporate crime, they tend to play minor roles in the overall conspiracy, the researchers, who reported their findings in the current issue of the American Sociological Review, said.
Steffensmeier said the findings suggest that placing more women in executive leadership positions in corporations may raise ethical standards.
Women are socialized to take fewer risks for business advantage and may feel they are under greater surveillance so they self-censor more, he added.
Female executives may also show greater concerns about equity and justice, according to Steffensmeier.
The difference between male and female involvement in corporate crime may show that men and women differ in what core values would motivate them to take risks, according to Steffensmeier.
While men may take risks for money and status, women may not assume risks for those goals, he said.
Women are more concerned with nurturing social relationships, sexual and moral virtues and beauty, according to the researchers.
In addition to differences in risk preferences or moral stances, Steffensmeier said that women have less opportunity for corporate financial fraud partly because they do not have access to top corporate positions, but mostly because they have limited access to the conspiracy networks perpetrating the fraud and corruption.
--ANI (Posted on 14-08-2013)