Academic journal article College Student Journal

Academic Dishonesty: Perceptions of Business Students

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Academic Dishonesty: Perceptions of Business Students

Article excerpt

Dishonest behavior at the college level, particularly by business students, is an ethical issue of concern to the academic and business communities. Corporate scandals and federal legislation have brought additional attention to the ethical behavior of business leaders and the role of higher education in training the leaders of tomorrow. If students exhibit unethical and dishonest behavior in college, they may carry those attitudes and behaviors into the workplace. This paper looks at business students' attitudes and behaviors in regard to academic dishonesty. The extent and causes of academic dishonesty are reviewed, as well as the varying degree and frequency of dishonest acts and related penalties.

The results of this study, which are based on a survey that was completed by 1,255 business students, reflect future business leaders' attitudes toward academic dishonesty--which acts are most dishonest and how those behaviors should be penalized--and the extent to which they engage in such behaviors. Differences were found across business major, gender, age, and grade point average.

Introduction

The scandals at companies such as Enron, WorldCom and Adelphia have brought attention to the ethical behavior of business leaders and the role of higher education in training the leaders of tomorrow. If students exhibit unethical and dishonest behavior in college, they may carry those attitudes and behaviors into the workplace (Grimes, 2004; Harding et al., 2004; Lawson, 2004; McCabe and Trevino, 1995; Newstrom and Ruch, 1976; Nonis and Swift, 2001; Petress, 2003; Sims, 1993; Stern and Havlicek, 1986). This paper looks at business students' attitudes and behaviors in regard to academic dishonesty.

In this paper, we overview the findings of previous research regarding the extent and causes of academic dishonesty. Then we report results from a survey we administered at a medium-sized Northeastern business college. The survey questions were directed at student attitudes regarding penalties that should be imposed for various dishonest acts, which dishonest acts are most severe, and how frequently students engage in academic dishonesty. Finally, we compare our findings of students at a business college with research based on general student populations.

This research is valuable to educators and administrators who are interested in the mindset of college undergraduate and graduate business students with respect to the ethical decisions they face in their daily lives. We present a candid portrait of cheating among today's business students, the acts in which they participate, and their recommendations for sanctions. This research gives a "finger on the pulse" report, which is especially useful for educators as they engage their students in discussions of academic honesty.

Literature Review

Much has been written about academic dishonesty in higher education. Researchers have looked at different types of dishonest acts, demographics such as gender and income, major, and type and size of school. Seminal studies include William Bowers' studies in the 1960s and Donald McCabe's work in the 1990s. In general, the research shows that cheating in higher education is rampant. It is caused by many factors including student perceptions about faculty and their dishonest behaviors, the use of technology, and evolving cultural norms.

Extent and Causes of the Problem

Cheating appears to be on the rise in academe (McCabe and Bowers, 1994; McCabe and Drinan, 1999), despite some findings to the contrary (Brown and Emmett, 2001). In the early 1960s, Bowers surveyed over 5,000 students on 99 college campuses and reported that at least half of those in his sample engaged in some form of academic dishonesty since coming to college. Bowers believed his estimate was conservative (Bowers, 1964). In a 1993 survey of students across nine campuses that were also included in the Bowers study, 52% of the students reported copying from another student on a test or exam. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.