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The Concept of Cheating and Motivation of Cheaters

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A common issue has arisen more frequently and has been a subject that is talked about the most: cheating. The first article on this subject that has been provided to us explains how cheating is said to be increasing in North America among business schools. The article goes on to explain that a management and global business professor, Donald McCabe, from a New Brunswick, New Jersey school called Rutgers University is doing a study on cheating. The first study he did last from 2002 to 2004 which included 32 U.S. and Canadian colleges and Universities. He found that 56 percent of the graduate business students have cheated than compared to 47 percent of non-business students. It then goes on to explain factors as to why this is happening.

Second article written by Donald McCabe explains that a 2006 study that he did with two other people showed that MBAs cheat more often than any other graduate students in the United States and Canada. In one of his studies, about 74 percent of undergraduate business students have admitted that they do rely on the internet, crib notes, and/or peek at other peoples test during an exam. From one of McCabe’s research, the mindset of MBAs seem to be that they need to get the highest GPA possible regardless if they cheat or not. It’s like a life or death situation to get these GPAs. His study has lead him to believe in two things, one is that business students who cheat seem to be prone to ethical problems if they find it easy to defend these questionable behaviors and two is that business schools do have the responsibility to teach ethics.

Another article was written by four professors and assistant professors of the Management department in Grand Valley State University. They did a study concerning with cheating on 268 business students. Overall, they found that business students do not necessarily cheat more or less, however, their attitude on what is or is not cheating is more lax than compared to non-business students. Their study also found out that serious cheaters no matter what major and across professional schools tend to be young in age and have lower GPA than other students. Other studies have found similar results while also found other individual factors that have a relationship to cheating behaviors such as marital status, various personality traits, and financial support/work.

The article by Raef A. Lawson is about a study he did about whether a business students’ proneness to cheat in the “Real World” is related to classroom cheating. Many students believe that they are more ethical than business people, however, it’s been reported that cheating is widespread among college students. The study indicates that students are getting upset when there is cheating in their classroom but nonetheless a large portion of students engage in such behavior. The study also shows that students understand what makes up ethical behavior in business and what is needed of them in order to thrive in the business environment. Students believe that business people have unethical behavior and even though it is unethical, it seems that it is the only way to advance their career. This has caused students to be concerned since it goes against their own personal ethics.

The article by two Cal State Fullerton professors goes on to explain ethical theories when interpreting and responding to students plagiarizing. Their study is to determine which theory of ethical reason students will use in response as to why they plagiarized when in school. With the internet now available to everyone and has improved teaching, plagiarism has increased whether it be in writing essay to doing homework. This study helps to show that unethical behavior in school can/will lead to unethical behavior in business. This concludes that school should prioritize in correcting this unethical behavior of students before they enter the real world of business.

Abilene Christian University has an extensive academic integrity policy and believes that academic integrity should be demonstrated by all students “regardless of setting, context and location” (ACU). ACU considers “plagiarism, collusion, cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, failing to contribute in collaborative projects, and sabotaging” others to be academic dishonesty (ACU). Abilene Christian University wants students and faculty to “honor each other as well as ourselves because we are created in the image of God. Thus, we want to work together to use others’ work, ideas, and words – as well as our own work, ideas, and words – ethically and honestly” (ACU). In the eyes of Abilene Christian University, it is a sin to lie and cheat and them being a Christian University, they take it personally in a sense since it goes against the teaching of God and Jesus.

By having this policy, they are trying to help us succeed by forcing us to do our own work and making us shine as the person that God made us to be. Abilene Christian University is trying to prepare us for that the real adulting world, and by cheating, we don’t learn what is acquired to understand the adulting world which can/will hurt us in the future. They try to be strict with the policy in order to teach us what is and is not acceptable, but once again they are preparing us for the future. In the real world, companies are not as nice as Abilene Christian University since ACU will only slap you on your wrist if you cheat but it can be worst depending on what the person has done. Companies will on the spot fire you if you are caught cheating in the real world and being fired is never good since it can cause you to have trouble finding future work. Is the ACU policy effective? To be completely honest, I believe it is not effective at all as I wish it were. In ACU, the majority of students haven’t even looked much less read through the Academic integrity policy and even if they have, students don’t care. Even with the policy in play, many of our students including business students cheat. Before I read the policy for the first time, I always assumed that cheating included plagiarism, looking/copying off someone else during an exam or quiz, and making someone do your work or copying from someone else. I had never thought about other types of cheating that the policy listed which I find funny that there is an extensive list of creative cheating methods. With all of these creative ways to cheat, it become hard for teachers to catch students who cheat and even if someone turns someone in, the teachers cannot really do anything unless the teacher caught them themselves. This is especially true since there is a student who is in three of my classes who always sits next to me and cheats off me during exams. I have told one of my teacher and he has told me that unless he catches her himself, he really can’t do anything besides watch her during the final. Overall, this is why I believe the ACU Academic Integrity Policy is not effective.

Throughout the articles given to us and through personal understanding, there are a lot of reasons as to why business students cheat. One reason is shown in Article 1 when Dr. McCabe says “It’s the bottom line that matters. It’s not how you get there.” This quote helps to show the credo that many businesses use and students are taking this theory to heart when in the classroom. We all go through school in hopes of getting a job that we have want, however, business schools are “hotbeds of ramped-up competition, which feeds the need to be first at all costs.” It almost seems that only the strongest/smartest people will survive in business schools which cause students to cheat when they aren’t at the top. McCabe’s research shows that “the mindset of most MBAs – the bottom line – is to get the highest GPA possible, regardless of the means. After all, the students with the highest GPAs get the best shot at the six-figure jobs in pharmaceuticals, high tech, and, yes, finance” which is another reason as to why students are prone to cheat. “The cheating seems to indicate that MBA students are simply imitating behaviors they think are necessary to succeed in the corporate world” (McCabe) which shows that the social understanding/idea that people have when it comes to businesses. Besides all of that, our generations to me are becoming lazier and are not wanting to really do any work that is required for the grade they want. I have seen and heard many stories about people who enter college and decide to not do anything but then complain when they don’t get a good grade. There is also the fact that what some people believe is cheating, other don’t consider it as cheating. One such example is when people collaborate during a project/essay when we are supposed to do it as individuals. Some schools will no doubt consider that cheating especially ACU since it’s in its integrity policy but to a large portion of students, we including myself don’t consider it cheating since it is mostly coming up with ideas. I like to meet with others and see what they have come up with for essays however we still end up writing our own essays and might differ with what others think. In reality, we all seem to cheat even non-business students.

To be completely honest, it would be hard to really brainstorm a cheat-proof assessment method and even if we did find one, students at some point will find a way to cheat. Though, I do have some ideas on what teachers can do to prevent cheating. One such solution would to use lockdown browser if you do multiple choice questions. The only difference is to have a large pool of questions that it can choose for each student so that it makes it even harder to cheat. Another would be to only have free response questions since it’s harder to look at another person’s exam especially if they have to read something. And while that exam is going on, I would give each student a folder that has no writing on it and would simply be used to cover their answers. A random solution could be to have oral exams. It would be a little more time consuming but it would be really hard to cheat if you pull one student at a time from the classroom, have them take the oral exam and then have them leave the room without talking to others. I would also suggest that you have another teacher to watch the class to prevent them from using their phone so that the answers do not get out but it could be avoided if you use different questions on different students and/or classes. Another solution would be to have the students hand over their phone in order to get an exam from you as well as a folder to use to hide their answers. I had a teacher do this and it made it easier for the teacher to prevent people from cheating off others or to even look up answers or ask their friends through their phone. I’m sure there are many ways to prevent cheating but I’m only able to come up with those but once again I’m sure students will find a way to cheat.

As stated before, companies will on the spot fire you if you are caught cheating in the real world and being fired is never good since it can cause you to have trouble finding future work. I believe karma exist and at some point when you cheat, karma will get you since it’s unfair to others that you don’t really care about actually doing your own work while others do. I just find it funny that business people are the ones responsible in dealing with other people’s money and we are the ones that have to trust them but since a large portion of them cheat, the question on whether or not we can actually trust them pops up. We are now beginning to live in a world with cheaters who have just graduated and if they can’t be trusted to do their own schoolwork and will cheat, how can we trust them to not cut corners in the companies they work in? They could potentially cause problems to the economy simply because they were cheating/cutting corners. This can cause consumers to worry and potentially make consumers spend less money which would cause the economy to slow down. Consumers might also go to other companies that don’t necessarily have cheaters which will cause some companies to advance while others could go bankrupt with the lack of customers. After reading all of these articles, I have come to worry about our future society and how it will change overtime with the generations that have an increasing population of cheaters. At some point, we will just lose trust in companies and this could potentially hurt us in the long run.

Overall, reading all of these articles has increased my knowledge of this subject. I have now begun to wonder what the future will hold for us as a society. I had always thought that cheating is cheating and only a few people would cheat but now to think that people who cheat are increasing do worry me. I had never thought that business students would cheat but are the largest group in most studies to cheat scares me especially since they deal with money. After being in college and experiencing what it’s like, I can understand a little as to why people do cheat but it is still wrong especially to people like me who spend hours to study and do their work. I feel like we need to change the ethics of businesses since there credo seem to be okay with cheating as long as they get to where they need to be.

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