Cheating by economics and business undergraduate students: an exploratory international assessment
- 896 Downloads
Today’s economics and business students are expected to be our future business people and potentially the economic leaders and politicians of tomorrow. Thus, their beliefs and practices are liable to affect the definition of acceptable economics and business ethics. The empirical evaluation of the phenomenon of cheating in academia has almost exclusively focused on the US context, and non-US studies usually only cover a narrow range of countries. This paper presents a comprehensive, cross-country study on the magnitude and determinants of cheating among economics and business undergraduates, involving 7,213 students enrolled in 42 universities located in 21 countries from the American (4), European (14), Africa (2) and Oceania (1) Continents. We found that the average magnitude of copying among economics and business undergraduates is quite high (62%) but there was significant cross-country heterogeneity. The probability of cheating is significantly lower in students enrolled in schools located in the Scandinavian, and the US and British Isles blocks when compared with their Southern European counterparts; quite surprisingly this probability is also lower for the African block. On a distinctly different level, however, students enrolled in schools in Western and especially Eastern European countries reveal statistically significant higher propensities towards committing academic fraud.
KeywordsCheating University Economics Business Countries
We are deeply indebt to all students that responded the survey and to the following individuals (in alphabetic order) for permitting and/or implementing the questionnaire underlying this study. Directors in Portugal Antonieta Cunha Sá (UNL/University Nova of Lisboa), Artur Cristóvão (UTAD/University of Alto Douro e Tràs-os-Montes), Fernando Almeida (Economics and Management School/University of Minho), Joaquim Borges Gouveia (Economics, Business and Industrial Engineering Department/University of Aveiro), José Pereirinha (ISEG/University of Lisbon), José Silva Costa (FEP/University of Porto), Manuel Branco (Faculty of Economics/University of Évora), Paulo Rodrigues (Faculty of Economics/University of Algarve), Pedro Botelho (FEUC/University of Coimbra). Department Coordinators in Portugal Carlos Arriaga (Economics Department/University of Minho), Fernanda Nogueira (Bussiness Department/University of UTAD), José Caldas (Economics Department/University of UTAD). Professors/Researchers in Portugal Ana Maria Rodrigues (University of Coimbra), António Caleiro (University of Évora), Arménio Rego (University of Aveiro), Aurora Galego (University of Évora), Carla Amado (University of Algarve), Carlos Ferreira (University of Aveiro), Carlota Quintal (University of Coimbra), Efigénio Rebelo (University of Algarve), Elisabete Félix (University of Évora), Fernando Cardoso (University of Algarve), Francisco Torres (University of Aveiro), Henrique Albergaria (University of Coimbra), Joana Costa (University of Beira Interior), João Paulo Costa (University of Coimbra), José Belbute (University of Évora), José Novais (University of Évora), Margarida Saraiva (University of Évora), Maria Graça Baptista (University of Açores), Maria João Alves (University of Coimbra), Maria João Carneiro (University of Aveiro), Maria João Thompson (University of Minho), Miguel Lebre de Freitas (University of Aveiro), Óscar Afonso (FEP/University of Porto), Patrícia Valle (University of Algarve). Other university staff Ana Paula Teixeira and Cristina Santana (University of Algarve), Sónia Fidalgo (University of Aveiro) and Leonor Dias (University of Coimbra). Professors/Researchers in other countries: Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra (US), André Everett (New Zealand), Andreas Klossek (Germany), Anil Kumar (US), Anne-Christin Stockmeyer (Germany), Axele Giroud (UK), Beatriz Caro (Spain), Carlos Gradín (Spain), Caviola Silvia Maria (Argentina), Celestino Vaz (Mozambique), Dan Popescu (Romenia), Dilek Zamantili Nayir (Turkey), Bernd Ebert (Germany), Eduardo Moreira (Brazil), Elke Kizelmann (Austria), Frances Ruane (Ireland), Ivan Lopez (Spain), Kirsten Lange (Denmark), Lisa Fiacre (France), Luca Panaccione (Italy), Maja Makovec Brencic (Slovenia), Nazan Gunay (Turkey), Nicolae Marinescu (Romenia), Olufemi Akinwale (Nigeria), Patrycia Swierkot (Poland), Peter Forster (France), Sally Burrows (UK), Sandra Milena Santamaria (Colombia), Sanja Kocijan (Slovenia), Sourafel Girma (UK), Stefano Brusoni (Italy). A final word of appreciation to Luzia Belchior (FEP—Administrative Office) for her valuable assistance with the optical reading of the survey questionnaires, and José Mergulhão Mendonça (FEP—Computing Department) for the huge help in devising the on-line international questionnaire.
- Arcidiacano, P. (2005). Argentina. Procurement: A textbook case. In B. Meier & M. Griffin (Eds.), Stealing the future. Corruption in the classroom: Ten real world experiences, Chap. 3. Berlin, Germany: Transparency International.Google Scholar
- Arlow, P., & Ulrich, T. (1985). Business ethics and business school graduates: A longitudinal study. Akron Business and Economic Review, 16, 13–17.Google Scholar
- Baumhart, R. (1961). How ethical are businessmen? Harvard Business Review, 39, 6–31.Google Scholar
- Bushway, A., & Nash, W. R. (1977). School cheating behavior. Review of Educational Research, 47, 623–632.Google Scholar
- Callahan, D. (2004). The cheating culture: Why more Americans are doing wrong to get ahead. Florida, US: Harcourt Books.Google Scholar
- Campbell, W. G. (1931). Student honesty as revealed by reporting of teacher’s errors in grading. School and Society, 33, 97–100.Google Scholar
- Campbell, W. G. (1935). A comparative investigation of students under a honor system and a proctor system in the same university. Los Angeles, CA: University of Southern California Press.Google Scholar
- Collinson, M. (1990). Apparent rise in students’ cheating has college officials worried. The Chronicle of Higher Education (January 17), A33–A35.Google Scholar
- Crown, D., & Spiller, M. (1998). Learning from the literature on collegiate cheating: A review of empirical research. Journal of Business Ethics, 17, 683–700.Google Scholar
- Fakouri, M. E. (1972). Achievement motivation and cheating. Psychological Reports, 31, 629–630.Google Scholar
- Gardner, W. M., Roper, J. T., Gonzalez, C. C., & Simpson, R. G. (1988). Analysis of cheating on academic assignments. The Psychological Record, 38, 543–555.Google Scholar
- Glater, J. (2006). Colleges chase as cheats shift to higher tech. The New York Times (May 18), A1–A24.Google Scholar
- Glenn, J. (1988). Business curriculum and ethics: Student attitudes and behavior. Business and Professional Ethics Journal, 7(3&4), 167–185.Google Scholar
- Godfrey, J., & Waugh, R. (1997). Students’ perceptions of cheating in Australian independent schools. Education Australia, 37, 14–16.Google Scholar
- Graham, M. A., Monday, J., O’Brien, K., & Steffen, S. (1994). Cheating at small colleges: An examination of student and faculty attitudes and behaviors. Journal of College Student Development, 35, 255–260.Google Scholar
- Hartshorne, H., & May, M. A. (1928). Studies in deceit. New York: MacMillan.Google Scholar
- Hernandez, S. (2004). Combating corruption in Argentina. www.duke.edu/web/las/Funding/hernandezpaper.pdf. Accessed May 2006.
- Hollon, C. J., & Ulrich, T. A. (1979). Personal business ethics: Managers vs managers-to-be. Southern Business Review, 5, 17–22.Google Scholar
- Hosmer, D., & Lemeshow, S. (1989). Applied logistic regression. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Houston, J. P. (1983). College classroom cheating, threat, sex and prior performance. College Student Journal, 16, 229–235.Google Scholar
- IAP—Independent Advocacy Project. (2006). Corruption is Nigeria’s major problem. http://www.ind-advocacy-project.org/Press%20Statements.htm.
- Kerkvliet, J., & Sigmun, C. L. (1999). Can we control cheating in the classroom? Journal of Economic Education, 30(4), 331–351.Google Scholar
- Leming, J. S. (1980). Cheating behavior, subject variables, and components of the internal–external scale under high and low risk conditions. Journal of Educational Research, 74, 83–87.Google Scholar
- Lord, A. T., & Melvin, K. B. (1997). The attitudes of accounting students, faculty, and employers toward cheating. In L. Ponemon (Ed.), Research on accounting ethics (Vol. 3, pp. 1–20). New York: JAI Press Inc.Google Scholar
- Magner, D. (1989). Students urge graduate business schools to emphasize ethical behavior and require courses in standards. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 354(29), A31–A32.Google Scholar
- Maramark, S., & Maline, M. (1993). Academic dishonesty among college students. Issues in education. Washington, DC: Department of Education, Office of Research.Google Scholar
- May, K. M., & Loyd, B. H. (1993). Academic dishonesty: The honor system and students’ attitudes. Journal of College Student Development, 34, 125–129.Google Scholar
- McCabe, D. L. (2005). CAI research. Center for academic integrity. http://academicintegrity.org/cai_research.asp. Accessed Apr 2006.
- McCabe, D., Butterfield, K. D., & Trevino, L. K. (2006). Academic dishonesty in graduate business programs: Prevalence, causes, and proposed action. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 5(3), 294–305.Google Scholar
- Meier, B., & Griffin, M. (Eds.). (2005). Stealing the future. Corruption in the classroom: Ten real world experiences. Berlin, Germany: Transparency International.Google Scholar
- Michaels, J. W., & Miethe, T. D. (1989). Applying theories of deviance to academic cheating. Social Science Quarterly, 70, 870–885.Google Scholar
- Nazario, S. L. (1990). Schoolteachers say it’s wrongheaded to try to teach students what’s right. The Wall Street Journal, B1, B8.Google Scholar
- Newstrom, J., & Ruch, W. (1976). The ethics of business students: Preparation for a career. AACSB Bulletin, 12(3), 21–29.Google Scholar
- Nowell, C., & Laufer, D. (1997). Undergraduate student cheating in the fields of business and economics. Journal of Economic Education, 28, 3–12.Google Scholar
- Pavela, G., & McCabe, D. L. (1993). The surprising return of honor codes. Planning for Higher Education, 21(4), 27–32.Google Scholar
- Rocha, M. F., & Teixeira, A. A. C. (2005a). Crime without punishment: An update review of the determinants of cheating among university students. FEP working papers no. 191, Oct 2005.Google Scholar
- Rocha, M. F., & Teixeira, A. A. C. (2005b). College cheating in Portugal: Results from a large scale survey. FEP working papers no. 197, Dec 2005.Google Scholar
- Sims, R. (1993). The relation between academic dishonesty and unethical business practices. Journal of Education for Business, 68, 207–211.Google Scholar
- Spiller, S., & Crown, D. F. (1995). Changes over time in academic dishonesty at the collegiate level. Psychological Reports, 76(3), 763–768.Google Scholar
- Stevens, G. E. (1984). Ethical inclinations of tomorrow’s citizens: Actions speak louder? Journal of Business Education, 59, 147–152.Google Scholar
- Stickman (2004). Thailand, the future. Stickman weekly 19th September 2004. http://www.stickmanbangkok.com/Weekly/weekly176.html.
- TI. (2006). Corruption perception index 2005. Berlin, Germany: Transparency International.Google Scholar
- Ward, D. A., & Beck, W. L. (1990). Gender and dishonesty. Journal of Social Psychology, 130, 333–339.Google Scholar
- Ward, D. A., & Tittle, C. R. (1993). Deterrence or labeling: The effect of informal sanctions. Deviant Behavior: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 14, 43–64.Google Scholar