Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp 557–571 | Cite as

The Influence of Ethics Instruction, Religiosity, and Intelligence on Cheating Behavior

  • James M. BloodgoodEmail author
  • William H. Turnley
  • Peter Mudrack


This study examines the influence of ethics instruction, religiosity, and intelligence on cheating behavior. A sample of 230 upper level, undergraduate business students had the opportunity to increase their chances of winning money in an experimental situation by falsely reporting their task performance. In general, the results indicate that students who attended worship services more frequently were less likely to cheat than those who attended worship services less frequently, but that students who had taken a course in business ethics were no less likely to cheat than students who had not taken such a course. However, the results do indicate that the extent to which taking a business ethics course influenced cheating behavior was moderated by the religiosity and intelligence of the individual student. In particular, while students who were highly religious were unlikely to cheat whether or not they had taken a business ethics course, students who were not highly religious demonstrated less cheating if they had taken a business ethics course. In addition, the extent of cheating among highly intelligent students was significantly reduced if such students had taken a course in business ethics. Likewise, individuals who were highly intelligent displayed significantly less cheating if they were also highly religious. The implications of these findings are discussed.


cheating ethics instruction intelligence religiosity 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Al-Khatib J. A., A. D’Auria Stanton, M. Y. A. Rawwas: 2005, Ethical Segmentation of Consumers in Developing Countries: A Comparative Analysis. International Marketing Review 22, 225–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Al-Khatib J. A., C. J. Robertson, D. N. Lascu: 2004, Post-Communist Consumer Ethics: The Case of Romania. Journal of Business Ethics 54, 81–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allmon D. E., D. Page, R. Roberts: 2000, Determinants of Perceptions of Cheating: Ethical Orientation, Personality and Demographics. Journal of Business Ethics 23, 411–422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anastasi A.: 1992, What Counselors Should Know About the Use and Interpretation of Psychological Tests. Journal of Counseling and Development 70(5), 610–615Google Scholar
  5. Barnett T., K. Bass, G. Brown: 1996, Religiosity, Ethical Ideology, and Intentions to Report a Peer’s Wrongdoing. Journal of Business Ethics 15, 1161–1174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bernardi R. A., R. L. Metzger, R. G. S. Bruno, M. A. W. Hoogkamp, L. E. Reyes, G. H. Barnaby: 2004, Examining the Decision Process of Students’ Cheating Behavior: An Empirical Study. Journal of Business Ethics 50, 397–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brendel J. M., J. B. Kolbert, V. A. Foster: 2002, Promoting Student Cognitive Development. Journal of Adult Development 9, 217–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bruggeman E. L., K. J. Hart: 1996, Cheating, Lying, and Moral Reasoning by Religious and Secular High School Students. Journal of Educational Research 89, 340–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Callahan D.: 2004, The Cheating Culture. Harcourt, Orlando, FLGoogle Scholar
  10. Chiu R. K., C. B. Erdener: 2003, The Ethics of Peer Reporting in Chinese Societies: Evidence from Hong Kong and Shanghai. International Journal of Human Resource Management 14, 335–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Conroy S. J., T. L. N. Emerson: 2004, Business Ethics and Religion: Religiosity as a Predictor of Ethical Awareness Among Students. Journal of Business Ethics 50(4), 383–396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cummings R., L. Dyas, C. D. Maddux, A. Kochman: 2001, Principled Moral Reasoning and Behavior of Preservice Teacher Education Students. American Educational Research Journal 38, 143–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. DeGeorge R. T.: 2006, Business Ethics. Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJGoogle Scholar
  14. Dellaportas S: 2006, Making a Difference with a Discrete Course on Accounting Ethics. Journal of Business Ethics 65, 391–404CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. DeMore S. W., J. D. Fisher, R. M. Baron: 1988. The Equity-Control Model as a Predictor of Vandalism Among College Students. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 18, 80–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dubinsky A. J., R. Nataraajan, W. Y. Huang: 2004, The Influence of Moral Philosophy on Retail Salespeoples’ Ethical Perceptions. Journal of Consumer Affairs 38, 297–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Duckett L., M. Rowan, M. Ryden, K. Krichbaum, M. Miller, H. Wainwright, K. Savik: 1997, Progress in the Moral Reasoning of Baccalaureate Nursing Students Between Program Entry and Exit. Nursing Research 46, 222–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ebaugh H. R., J. S. Chafetz, P. F. Pipes: 2006, Where’s the Faith in Faith-based Organizations? Measures and Correlates of Religiosity in Faith-based Social Service Coalitions. Social Forces 84, 2259–2272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Elias R. Z.: 2002, Determinants of Earnings Management Ethics Among Accountants. Journal of Business Ethics 40, 33–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Enright R. D., M. J. D. Santos, R. Al-Mabuk: 1989, The Adolescent as Forgiver. Journal of Adolescence 12, 95–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Epstein E. M.: 2002, Religion and Business – The Critical Role of Religious Traditions in Management Education. Journal of Business Ethics 38, 91–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Erffmeyer R. C., B. D. Keillor, D. T. LeClair: 1999, An Empirical Investigation of Japanese Consumer Ethics. Journal of Business Ethics 18, 35–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Etheredge J. M.: 1999, The Perceived Role of Ethics and Social Responsibility: An Alternative Scale Structure. Journal of Business Ethics 18, 51–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Evans J. M., L. K. Treviño, G. R. Weaver: 2006, Who’s in the Ethics Driver’s Seat? Factors Influencing Ethics in the MBA Curriculum. Academy of Management Learning & Education 5(3): 278–293Google Scholar
  25. Forsyth D. R.: 1980, A Taxonomy of Ethical Ideologies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 175–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. French W.: 2006, Business Ethics Training: Face-to-Face and at a Distance. Journal of Business Ethics 66, 117–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Furman F. K.:1990, Teaching Business Ethics: Questioning the Assumptions, Seeking New Directions. Journal of Business Ethics, 9, 31–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gautschi F. H., T. M. Jones: 1998, Enhancing the Ability of Business Students to Recognize Ethical Issue: An Empirical Assessment of the Effectiveness of a Course in Business Ethics. Journal of Business Ethics 17, 205–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Giacalone R. A., S. Fricker, J. W. Beard: 1995, The Impact of Ethical Ideology on Modifiers of Ethical Decisions and Suggested Punishment for Ethical Infractions. Journal of Business Ethics 14, 497–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Givner N., K. Hynes: 1983, An Investigation of Change in Medical Students’ Ethical Thinking. Medical Education 17, 3–7Google Scholar
  31. Glenn J. R. Jr.: 1992, Can a Business and Society Course Affect the Ethical Judgment of Future Managers? Journal of Business Ethics 11, 217–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Glover R. J.: 1997, Relationships in Moral Reasoning and Religion Among Members of Conservative, Moderate, and Liberal Religious Groups. Journal of Social Psychology 137, 247–254Google Scholar
  33. Graafland J., M. Kaptein, C. Mazereeuw-van der Duijn Schouten: 2006, Business Dilemmas and Religious Belief: An Explorative Study Among Dutch Executives. Journal of Business Ethics 66, 53–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Granitz N., D. Loewy: 2007, Applying Ethical Theories: Interpreting and Responding to Student Plagiarism. Journal of Business Ethics 72, 293–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Greenberg J.: 1990. Employee Theft as a Reaction to Underpayment Inequity: The Hidden Cost of Pay Cuts. Journal of Applied Psychology 75, 561–568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Harries K. D.: 1988, Regional Variations in Homicide, Capital Punishment, and Perceived Crime Severity in the United States. Geografiska Annaler 70 B(3), 325–334Google Scholar
  37. Harrington S. J.: 1991, What Corporate America is Teaching About Ethics. Academy of Management Executive 5, 21–30Google Scholar
  38. Henle C. A.: 2006, Bad Apples or Bad Barrels? A Former CEO Discusses the Interplay of Person and Situation with Implications for Business Education. Academy of Management Learning & Education 5(3), 346–355Google Scholar
  39. Ho F. N., S. J. Vitell, J. H. Barnes, R. Desborde: 1997, Ethical Correlates of Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity in Marketing: The Mediating Role of Cognitive Moral Development. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 25, 117–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Holm S., G. H. Nielsen, M. Norup, A. Vegner, F. Guldmann, P. H. Andreasen: 1995, Changes in Moral Reasoning and the Teaching of Medical Ethics. Medical Education, 29, 420–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kelley D. M.: 1972, Why Conservative Churches are Growing. Harper & Row, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  42. Kelly J. A., L. Worell: 1978, Personality Characteristics, Parent Behaviors, and Sex of Subject in Relation to Cheating. Journal of Research in Personality 12, 179–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kerkvliet, J. and C. L. Sigmund: 1999, Can We Control Cheating in the Classroom? Journal of Economic Education Fall, 331–343Google Scholar
  44. Kingston P. W., R. Hubbard, B. Lapp, P. Schroeder, J. Wilson: 2003, Why Education Matters. Sociology of Education 76, 53–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kleiser S. B., E. Sivadas, J. J. Kellaris, R. F. Dahlstrom: 2003, Ethical Ideologies: Efficient Assessment and Influence on Ethical Judgements of Marketing Practices. Psychology and Marketing 20, 1–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kohlberg L.: 1976, Moral Stages and Moralization: The Cognitive-Developmental Approach. In T. Lickona (Ed.), Moral Development and Behavior (pp. 31–53). Rinehart & Winston, New York: HoltGoogle Scholar
  47. Laditka S. B., M. M. Houck: 2006, Student-Developed Case Studies: An Experiential Approach for Teaching Ethics in Management. Journal of Business Ethics 64, 157–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lanza-Kaduce L., M. Klug: 1986, Learning to Cheat: The Interaction of Moral-Development and Social Learning Theories. Deviant Behavior 7, 243–259Google Scholar
  49. Lawson R.: 2004, Is Classroom Cheating Related to Business Students’ Propensity to Cheat in the “Real World”? Journal of Business Ethics 49, 189–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Leming J. S.: 1978, Cheating Behavior, Situational Influence, and Moral Development. Journal of Educational Research 71, 214–217Google Scholar
  51. Longenecker J. G., J. A. McKinney, C. W. Moore: 2004, Religious Intensity, Evangelical Christianity, and Business Ethics: An Empirical Study. Journal of Business Ethics 55, 373–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Magill G.: 1992, Theology in Business Ethics: Appealing to the Religious Imagination. Journal of Business Ethics 11, 129–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Malinowski C. I., C. P. Smith: 1985, Moral Reasoning and Moral Conduct: An Investigation Prompted by Kohlberg’s Theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 49, 1016–1027CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. McCabe D. L., K. D. Butterfield, L. K. Treviño: 2006, Academic Dishonesty in Graduate Business Programs: Prevalence, Causes, and Proposed Action. Academy of Management Learning & Education 5(3), 294–305Google Scholar
  55. McCabe A. C., R. Ingram, M. C. Dato-on: 2006, The Business of Ethics and Gender. Journal of Business Ethics 64, 101–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Menzel D. C.: 1997, Teaching Ethics and Values in Public Administration: Are We Making a Difference? Public Administration Review 57(3), 224–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Narvaez D., I. Getz, J. R. Rest, S. J. Thoma: 1999, Individual Moral Judgment and Cultural Ideologies. Developmental Psychology 35, 478–488CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. O’Leary C. O., R. Radich: 2001, An Analysis of Australian Final Year Accountancy Students’ Ethical Attitudes. Teaching Business Ethics 5, 235–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Premeaux S. R.: 2005, Undergraduate Student Perceptions Regarding Cheating: Tier 1 versus Tier 2 AACSB Accredited Business Schools. Journal of Business Ethics 62, 407–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Rawwas M. Y. A., Z. Swaidan, J. Al-Khatib: 2006, Does Religion Matter? A Comparison Study of the Ethical Beliefs of Marketing Students in Religious and Secular Universities in Japan. Journal of Business Ethics 65, 69–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Reiman A. J., S. DeAngelis Peace: 2002, Promoting Teachers’ Moral Reasoning and Collaborative Inquiry Performance: A Developmental Role-Taking and Guided Inquiry Study. Journal of Moral Education 31, 51–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Rest J. R.: 1979, Development in Judging Moral Issues. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MNGoogle Scholar
  63. Rest J. R.: 1986, Moral Development: Advances in Theory and Research. Praeger, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  64. Rest J., D. Narvaez, M. J. Bebeau, S. J. Thoma: 1999, Postconventional Moral Thinking: A Neo-Kohlbergian Approach. Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJGoogle Scholar
  65. Ritter B. A.: 2006, Can Business Ethics be Trained? A Study of the Ethical Decision-Making Process in Business Students. Journal of Business Ethics 68, 153–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Roth L. M., J. C. Kroll: 2007, Risky Business: Assessing Risk Preference Explanations for Gender Differences in Religiosity. American Sociological Review 72, 205–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Ruegger D., E. W. King: 1992, A Study of the Effect of Age and Gender Upon Student Business Ethics. Journal of Business Ethics 11, 179–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Schwartz M. S.: 2006, God as a Managerial Stakeholder? Journal of Business Ethics 66, 291–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Self D. J., D. C. Baldwin Jr., M. Olivarez: 1993, Teaching Medical Ethics to First-Year Students by Using Film Discussion to Develop Their Moral Reasoning. Academic Medicine 68, 383–385Google Scholar
  70. Self D. J., M. Olivarez, D. C. Baldwin Jr.: 1998a, Clarifying the Relationship of Medical Education and Moral Development. Academic Medicine 73, 517–519Google Scholar
  71. Self D. J., M. Olivarez, D. C. Baldwin Jr.: 1998b, The Amount of Small-Group Case-Study Discussion Needed to Improve Moral Reasoning Skills of Medical Students. Academic Medicine 73, 521–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Sims R. R., E. L. Felton Jr.: 2006, Designing and Delivering Business Ethics Teaching and Learning. Journal of Business Ethics 63, 297–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Singhapakdi A., S. J. Vitell, G. R. Franke: 1999, Antecedents, Consequences, and Mediating Effects of Perceived Moral Intensity and Personal Moral Philosophies. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 27, 19–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Singhapakdi A. S., S. J. Vitell, K. Rallapalli, K. L. Kraft: 1996, The Perceived Role of Ethics and Social Responsibility: A New Scale Development. Journal of Business Ethics 15, 1131–1140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Sparks J. R., S. D. Hunt: 1998, Marketing Researcher Ethical Sensitivity: Conceptualization, Measurement, and Exploratory Investigation. Journal of Marketing 62(2), 92–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Steenhaut S., P. VanKenhove: 2006, The Mediating Role of Anticipated Guilt in Consumers’ Ethical Decision-Making. Journal of Business Ethics 69, 269–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Sternberg R. J.: 1990. Metaphors of Mind: Conceptions of the Nature of Intelligence. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  78. Treviño L. K.: 1986. Ethical Decision Making in Organizations: A Person Situation Interactionist Model. Academy of Management Review 11(3), 601–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Treviño L. K., G. R. Weaver, S. J. Reynolds: 2006. Behavioral Ethics in Organizations: A Review. Journal of Management 32(6), 951–990CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Velthouse B., Y. Kandogan: 2007. Ethics in Practice: What are Managers Really Doing? Journal of Business Ethics 70, 151–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Verschoor, C. C.: 2003, ‹Is Ethics Education of Future Business Leaders Adequate?’, Strategic Finance August: 20–23Google Scholar
  82. Vitell S. J., E. R. Hidalgo: 2006, The Impact of Corporate Ethical Values and Enforcement of Ethical Codes on the Perceived Importance of Ethics in Business: A Comparison of U.S. and Spanish Managers. Journal of Business Ethics 64, 31–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Vitell S. J., J. G. P. Paolillo: 2003, Consumer Ethics: The Role of Religiosity. Journal of Business Ethics 46, 151–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Vitell S. J., J. G. P. Paolillo, J. J. Singh: 2006, The Role of Money and Religiosity in Determining Consumers’ Ethical Beliefs. Journal of Business Ethics 64, 117–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Weaver G. R., B. R. Agle: 2002, Religiosity and Ethical Behavior in Organizations: A Symbolic Interactionist Perspective. Academy of Management Review 27(1), 77–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Weber J. A.: 2007, Business Ethics Training: Insights from Learning Theory. Journal of Business Ethics 70, 61–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Weber J., S. M. Glyptis: 2000, Measuring the Impact of a Business Ethics Course and Community Service on Students’ Values and Opinions. Teaching Business Ethics 4:341–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Wechsler D.: 1958, The Measurement and Appraisal of Adult Intelligence. Williams and Wilkins, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  89. West T., S. P. Ravenscroft, C. B. Shrader: 2004, Cheating and Moral Judgment in the College Classroom: A Natural Experiment. Journal of Business Ethics 54, 173–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Williams S. D., T. Dewett: 2005, Yes, You Can Teach Business Ethics: A Review and Research Agenda. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies 12(2):109–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Worden S.: 2005, Religion in Strategic Leadership: A Positivistic, Normative/Theological, and Strategic Analysis. Journal of Business Ethics 57, 221–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • James M. Bloodgood
    • 1
    Email author
  • William H. Turnley
    • 1
  • Peter Mudrack
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ManagementKansas State UniversityManhattanU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations