Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 94, Issue 3, pp 441–453

Why Do College Students Cheat?

Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

cheating ethical behavior student dishonesty student misconduct theory of reasoned action 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

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

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