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Factors of Academic Misconduct in a Cross-Cultural Perspective and the Role of Integrity Systems


In this article, the main factors of academic cheating and plagiarism in four countries (Russia, US, Poland, and Latvia) are analyzed. Three groups of factors are investigated, namely individual, motivational, and contextual. A mixed method approach has been used, with material including student surveys, interviews with university teachers and administrators, and analysis of university documents. The survey results show that the role of individual social-demographic factors are not significant for predicting misconduct. Students are prone to neutralize their own blame in misconduct, and refer to the external conditions by the proposition that it is difficult to avoid cheating and plagiarism during university studies. Students are also more likely to cheat and plagiarize in the conditions of weak teachers’ control and deterrents. Such results demonstrate the importance of an integrity policy at the national, institutional and classroom levels, and that the social and cultural environment can be important factors in cheating. Integrity systems and the level, which they have been implemented, have a significant impact on student misconduct and attitudes toward cheating.

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  1. For measuring teachers’ control and neutralizing attitudes, we asked specific questions about cheating on exams and plagiarism. For example, we asked students two separate questions about teachers’ control on exams: 1) Do teachers/faculty usually control or prevent student misconduct during the test or exam? 2) Do teachers/faculty usually check students’ papers for plagiarism?

  2. Ustawa z dnia 27 lipca 2005 r. Prawo o szkolnictwie wyższym. Dz.U. 2005 Nr 164 poz. 1365. Rozd. 4,6.; Rozporządzenie Ministra Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego z dnia 6 grudnia 2006 r. w sprawie szczegółowego trybu postępowania wyjaśniającego i dyscyplinarnego wobec studentów


  4. As well as in the previous case, we use the linear regression for measuring factors of cheating on exam, and binary logistic regression for measuring factors of plagiarism.


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The author would like to thank the following individuals for their help and support: Professor Krzysztof Kosela, Professor Maredith Redlin, Katarzyna Uklańska, Ewa Antoniak, Jurijs Ņikišins, Konstantin Obukhov for their support and assistance in the research; Dr. Jennifer Ast for editing the paper; Professor Leonid Polishchuk for valuable discussions in research. The initiative was supported through following grants: Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program (Russia); ERAMUNDUS-EMA2; The Centre for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding.

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Correspondence to Marina Makarova.

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Makarova, M. Factors of Academic Misconduct in a Cross-Cultural Perspective and the Role of Integrity Systems. J Acad Ethics 17, 51–71 (2019).

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  • Cheating
  • Plagiarism
  • Integrity system
  • Teacher deterrents