Research in Higher Education

, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 451–467 | Cite as

Academic Dishonesty in the Middle East: Individual and Contextual Factors

  • Donald L. McCabe
  • Tony Feghali
  • Hanin Abdallah


Little work has been done on academic dishonesty in the Middle East. This research investigates the nature of the relationship between contextual factors and academic dishonesty using a sample from three private universities in Lebanon, and compares the results to a sample from seven large universities in the US. Using the basic model of McCabe et al. (Research in Higher Education 43(3):357–378, 2002), we found additional evidence for the strong role perception of peers’ behavior plays in understanding student decisions concerning academic integrity. Cross cultural comparisons of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors regarding academic dishonesty were pivotal in this research. Our results support the view that Lebanese university students are strongly influenced by the norms of the collectivist society in which they are raised as compared to the more individualistic society found in the United States.


Academic integrity Middle East Individual factors Contextual factors 


  1. Al-Harthi, A. S. (2005). Distance higher education experiences of Arab Gulf students in the United States: A cultural perspective. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 6(3), 1–14.Google Scholar
  2. Ayyash-Abdo, H. (2001). Individualism and collectivism: The case of Lebanon. Social Behavior and Personality, 29(5), 503–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  4. Buda, R., & Elsayed-Elkhouly, S. M. (1998). Cultural differences between Arabs and Americans: Individualism–collectivism revisited. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 29(3), 487–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chapman, K. J., & Lupton, R. A. (2004). Academic dishonesty in a global educational market: A comparison of Hong Kong and American university business students. The International Journal of Education Management, 18(7), 425–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Christensen-Hughes, J. M., & McCabe, D. L. (2006). Understanding academic misconduct. The Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 36(1), 49–63.Google Scholar
  7. Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1983). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  8. Cohen, J., Pant, P., & Sharp, D. (1993). A validation and extension of a multidimensional ethics scale. Journal of Business Ethics, 12(1), 13–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dalton, J. C. (1985). Promoting values development in college students. Columbus: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  10. De Lambert, K., Ellen, N., & Taylor, L. (2003). Cheating-what is it and why do it?: A study in New Zealand tertiary institutions of the perceptions and justifications for academic dishonesty. Journal of American Academy of Business, 3(1/2), 98–103.Google Scholar
  11. Diekhoff, G. M., LaBeff, E., Shinohara, K., & Yasukawa, H. (1999). College cheating in Japan and the United States. Research in Higher Education, 40(3), 343–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dupont, A. M., & Craig, J. S. (1996). Does management experience change the ethical perceptions of retail professionals: A comparison of the ethical perceptions of current students with those of recent graduates? Journal of Business Ethics, 15(8), 815–826.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Franklyn-Stokes, A., & Newstead, S. E. (1995). Undergraduate cheating: Who does what and why? Studies in Higher Education, 20(2), 159–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gibbs, J. P. (1975). Crime, punishment, and deterrence. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  15. Harpp, D. N., & Hogan, J. J. (1993). Crime in the classroom. Journal of Chemical Education, 70(4), 306–311.Google Scholar
  16. Hofstede, G. (1982). Culture’s consequences (abridged ed.). Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Jendrek, M. P. (1989). Faculty reactions to academic dishonesty. Journal of College Student Development, 30(4), 401–406.Google Scholar
  18. Kohlberg, L. (1969). Stage and sequence: The cognitive-developmental approach to socialization. In D. A. Goslin (Ed.), Handbook of Socialization Theory and Research (pp. 347–480). Chicago: Rand McNally.Google Scholar
  19. Lim, V. K. G., & See, S. K. B. (2001). Attitudes toward, and intentions to report, academic cheating among students in Singapore. Ethics and Behavior, 11(3), 261–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lupton, R. A., Chapman, K. J., & Weiss, J. E. (2000). A cross-national exploration of business students’ attitudes, perceptions, and tendencies toward academic dishonesty. Journal of Education for Business, 75(4), 231–235.Google Scholar
  21. Lysonski, S., & Gaidis, W. (1991). A cross-cultural comparison of the ethics of business students. Journal of Business Ethics, 10(2), 141–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Magnus, J. R., Polterovich, V. M., Danilov, D. L., & Savvateev, A. V. (2002). Tolerance of cheating: an analysis across countries. The Journal of Economic Education, 33(2), 125–136.Google Scholar
  23. McCabe, D. L., 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
  24. McCabe, D. L., & Pavela G. (2000). Some good news about academic integrity. Change, 33(5), 32–38.Google Scholar
  25. McCabe, D. L., Trevino, L. K., & Butterfield, K. D. (2002). Honor codes and other contextual influences on academic integrity: A replication and extension to modified honor code settings. Research in Higher Education, 43(3), 357–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McCabe, D. L., & Trevino, L. K. (1997). Individual and contextual influences on academic dishonesty: A multicampus investigation. Research in Higher Education, 38(3), 397–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. McCabe, D. L., & Trevino, L. K. (1993). Academic dishonesty: Honor codes and other contextual factors. The Journal of Higher Education, 64(5), 522–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Michaels, J. W., & Miethe, T. D. (1989). Applying theories of deviance to academic cheating. Social Science Quarterly, 70(4), 872–875.Google Scholar
  29. Newstead, S. E., Franklyn-Stokes, A., & Armstead, P. (1996). Individual differences in student cheating. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88(2), 229–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nonis, S., & Swift, C. O., (2001). An examination of the relation between academic dishonesty and workplace dishonesty: A multicampus investigation. Journal of Education for Business, 77(2), 69–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nuss, E. M. (1984). Academic Integrity: Comparing faculty and student attitudes. Improving College and University Teaching, 32(2), 140–144.Google Scholar
  32. Ogilby, S. M., (1995). The ethics of academic behavior: Will it affect professional behavior? Journal of Education for Business, 71(2), 92–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Power, F. C., Higgins, A., & Kohlberg, L. (1989). Lawrence Kohlberg’s approach to moral education. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Pulford, B. D., Johnson, A., & Awaida, M. (2005). A cross-cultural study of predictors of self-handicapping in university students. Personality and Individual Differences, 39(4), 727–737.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ralston, D. A., Giacalone, R. A., & Terpstra, R. H. (1994). Ethical perceptions of organizational politics: A comparative evaluation of American and Hong Kong managers. Journal of Business Ethics, 13(12), 989–999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rosenhan, D. L., Moore, B. S., & Underwood, B. (1976). The social psychology of moral behavior. In Lickona, T. (Ed.), Moral development and behavior (pp. 241–252). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  37. Salter, S. B., Guffey, D. M., & McMillan, J. J. (2001). Truth, consequences and culture: A comparative examination of cheating and attitudes about cheating among U.S. and U.K. students. Journal of Business Ethics, 31(1), 37–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sims, R. L. (1993). The relationship between academic dishonesty and unethical business practices. Journal of Education for Business, 68(4), 207–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Singhapakdi, A., Vitell, S. J., & Leelakulthanit, O. (1994). A cross-cultural study of moral philosophies, ethical perceptions and judgments: A comparison of American and Thai marketers. International Marketing Review, 11(6), 65–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Swidan, Z., Rawwas, M., & Al-Khatib, J. (2004). Ethical beliefs and orientations of a micro-culture in the U.S. International Business Review, 13(6), 661–805.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Tittle, C. R., & Rowe, A. R. (1973). Moral appeal, sanction threat, and deviance: An experimental test. Social Problems, 20(Spring), 488–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Transparency International (2005). TI Corruption Perception Index (CPI). Retrieved Aug 16, 2006, Scholar
  43. Trevino, L. K., & McCabe, D. L. (1994). Meta-learning about business ethics: Building honorable business school communities. Journal of Business Ethics, 13(6), 405–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Triandis, H. C. (2001). Individualism-collectivism and personality. Journal of Personality, 69(6), 907–924.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Underwood, J., & Szabo, A. (2003). Academic offenses and e-learning: Individual propensities in cheating. British Journal of Educational Technology, 34(4), 467–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wilhelm, P. G. (2002). International validation of the corruption perceptions index: Implications for business ethics and entrepreneurship education. Journal of Business Ethics, 35(3), 177–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. World Bank. (2006). Lebanon quarterly update second quarter 2006. Washington: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  48. Zimring, F. E., & Hawkins, G. J. (1973). Deterrence: The legal threat in crime control. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald L. McCabe
    • 1
  • Tony Feghali
    • 2
  • Hanin Abdallah
    • 2
  1. 1.Rutgers Business SchoolNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Suliman S. Olayan School of Business, American University of BeirutBeirutLebanon

Personalised recommendations