Know an Employee Suspected of Theft? Don’t Confront Them

Using a confrontational technique when conducting internal investigations may not be a good idea.

Employee suspected of Theft sweethearting

Interviewers have been using the confrontational approach for thousands of years. Suspects used to be guilty until proven innocent; how else were you supposed to obtain a confession? But when you have an employee suspected of theft in a retail or restaurant business, you should consider a more elegant method of handling the situation.

The Interviewing column from the January–February 2017 issue of LP Magazine deals with the problems surrounding the confrontational method of interrogation, which range from the incitement of conflict to the probable false confession. From the article:

Today, the times are very different in terms of management style and the later generations. Collaboration and a common vision are more important than power in reaching the ultimate goal. Resistance is reduced when people make the decision of their own free will to take a course of action. The end result is achieved by controlling the probable outcome without exercising power, which is a more elegant solution than ordering and confronting.

So what has become of the confrontational approach? It’s still around but under attack from almost every corner. The academics point to the techniques as being the cause of false confessions. Police departments are being challenged for continuing to use it. Federal agencies are asking that it be dropped and not even mentioned during training. The courts are rejecting confessions obtained from using the technique, and experts are testifying against it. And entire countries prohibit its use.

A strong confrontation is not the only means of gaining compliance from an employee suspected of theft. Learn more about the confrontational approach and its connection to eventual exonerations in the column (“The Case against Confrontation“).  You can also visit the Table of Contents for the January-February 2017 issue or register for a free subscription to the magazine.

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