The Corporation

In our current Learning Module we are addressing two topics that on the surface appear very different.  In this documentary, The Corporation, we will connect the two topics.  The documentary analyzes a formal organization as a potential deviant.  The film may be watched on YouTube using the link below.  You are not required to watch the entire documentary, although doing so is highly encouraged.  You need only watch 1 hour and 4 minutes. 

Use this link:

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After watching the documentary, respond to the questions below.  Question 1-7 are based on the film.  Questions 8 and 9 connect the film to your information about Deviance, Crime and Social Control.   


Please type your response to each question directly under the question. 

All responses should be in your own words.  Avoid using definitions or quotes

1)   According to the film, the standard metaphor for a corporation is that of an apple within a barrel where most apples are good and just a few bad. Several CEO’s offered alternative metaphors, such as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, a sports team, family unity, a telephone system, or an eagle. Less flattering metaphors are that of a devouring monster, a whale, or the Frankenstein monster. Are any of these metaphors more appropriate than others?

2) One person stated that corporations “have no soul to save, no body to incarcerate.” What does this mean?

3)  Explain the term “externalities” and provide examples.

4)  A Monsanto product called Posilac (BST) is artificial hormone for factory farm cows that increase milk production. How does this product benefit the farmer?  How does it harm the farmer?

5)  A commodities trader stated the following: “our information that we receive does not include anything about environmental conditions, because, until the environmental conditions become a commodity themselves, or are being traded, then obviously we will not have anything to do with that.” What does this imply about corporate concern for the environment?

6)  One person in the film stated the following: “Whether you obey the law or not is a matter of whether its cost effective. If the chance of getting caught and the penalty are less than it costs to comply, people just think of it as being a business decision.” In other words, criminal fines are just another cost of doing business. Might there be a more effective form of punishment that would motivate corporations to follow the law?

7)  The narrator asks “If the dominant institution of our time has been created in the image of a psychopath, who bears the moral responsibility for its actions?” How might we answer this question?

8)  what type of organization would most corporations be?  Please explain your reason and define terms when applicable. 

9)  Which theory of deviance (not perspective but specific theory) best applies to the issue of corporate deviance?  Explain the theory and why you believe it applies.

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