Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 94, Issue 3, pp 441–453

Why Do College Students Cheat?


DOI: 10.1007/s10551-009-0275-x

Cite this article as:
Simkin, M.G. & McLeod, A. J Bus Ethics (2010) 94: 441. doi:10.1007/s10551-009-0275-x


More is known about the pervasiveness of college cheating than reasons why students cheat. This article reports the results of a study that applied the theory of reasoned action and partial least squares methodology to analyze the responses of 144 students to a survey on cheating behavior. Approximately 60% of the business students and 64% of the non-business students admitted to such behavior. Among cheaters, a “desire to get ahead” was the most important motivating factor – a surprising result given the comprehensive set of factors tested in the study. Among non-cheaters, the presence of a “moral anchor” such as an ethical professor was most important. The article also includes a set of important caveats that might limit this study and suggests some avenues for further study.


cheatingethical behaviorstudent dishonestystudent misconducttheory of reasoned action

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Business AdministrationUniversity of NevadaRenoU.S.A.