Skip to main content

I Didn’t Have Time! A Qualitative Exploration of Misbehaviors in Academic Contexts


Students display resistance, including academic dishonesty, at all educational levels. In the present study, we qualitatively examined the extent and incidence of academic misbehaviors by 101 US college students (Mage = 22.98 years, SD = 6.70). Using a combination of self-reported closed- and open-ended questions, we developed a multi-faceted understanding of how students perceived their own classroom misbehaviors to avoid work as being original, clever, deceptive, and unethical. Questions pertaining to possible prevention, impact on grade, and repetition of the misbehavior were also included. Further, environmental contributors of such behavior were explored, inclusive of the teacher, curriculum, larger school/institutional reasons, peers, and out-of-school issues. Thematic analyses identified distinct themes related to each factor, with poor time management emerging as a salient antecedent across factors. The present study also reviews and provides strategies to improve time management among students to mitigate future instances of academic misbehavior.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. Brainy Quote—Charles Duhigg quotes, n.d.


Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



This work was completed when the first author was a Fulbright-Nehru Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Connecticut.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hansika Kapoor.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that there are no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kapoor, H., Inamdar, V. & Kaufman, J.C. I Didn’t Have Time! A Qualitative Exploration of Misbehaviors in Academic Contexts. J Acad Ethics 20, 191–208 (2022).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Academic dishonesty
  • Resistance
  • Cheating
  • Time management
  • Classroom management