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Profiling behaviour: The social construction of categories in the detection of financial crime.

Canhoto, Ana Isabel (2007) Profiling behaviour: The social construction of categories in the detection of financial crime. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Profiles are knowledge constructs that represent and identify a data subject. While not a new phenomenon, the use of profiling has exploded and its ubiquity is likely to increase, as a result of the widespread adoption of monitoring technology. The literature on profile development tends to refer to the practice, the technique or the technology of profiling, separately. Little has been written on how the perspectives interact with each other and, ultimately, shape the emerging behaviour profile. In order to map out the elements that impact on behaviour profiling, this thesis uses organisational semiotics, enhanced with classification theory, for key constructs. The study views profilers as agents who interpret and act on available information according to particular sets of technical, formal and informal factors and who, in the presence of incomplete or ambiguous stimuli, may fill in or distort information. Furthermore, the thesis examines how the position of the interpreter in the profiling process influences the result of the exercise. A case study conducted in a British financial institution demonstrates how technical systems and profilers acting in particular contexts influence each other in a dialectical process, whereby the characteristics of the data available impact the analysts' ability to interpret an event and, at the same time, the analysts tend to look for in the data only what they consider conceivable. The discussion centres on the influence of the type of stimuli available, the relational context and the actions of individual profilers in shaping the emerging meaning, in the context of financial crime detection. In addition, it considers the role of technical, formal and informal systems to overcome eventual variances in meaning. The thesis extends the applicability of organisational semiotics with classification theory. Inspired by models of sequential encounters, the thesis provides a methodological contribution by developing a tool for the analysis of sequential meaning making processes. A practical contribution emerges from mapping the impact of the profilers' perceptions into the emerging profile, and by suggesting mechanisms for shaping those perceptions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Economics, Finance
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Management

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