Corporate Investigations: Beyond Notions of Public–Private Relations

Clarissa Meerts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Based on qualitative research primarily carried out in the Netherlands, this article describes corporate investigations within the private sector in terms of investigators’ operational autonomy, which, in only a minority of cases, involves contact or cooperation with governmental law enforcement agencies. It is argued that, given this de facto public–private separation, theoretical concepts within the literature that take the nation-state as the imagined historical origin and/or continuing partner of corporate security—concepts such as privatization, responsibilization, or multilateralization—fail to capture the autonomy of corporate investigations. Furthermore, such concepts are politically distracting and potentially dangerous for public policy, since they imply that corporate security is effectively surveilled and supervised by the state within a framework of public–private cooperation. Nothing could be further from the truth; indeed the limited liaisons that do occur are initiated by the private sector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-100
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
Issue number1
Early online date1 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • corporate investigations
  • employee crime
  • norm violations
  • private policing
  • public–private relations


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