Classroom Cheating and Student Perceptions of Ethical Climate1

Abstract

The literature on business ethics includes numerous articles that view cheating by college students as constituting a problem both widespread and serious (e.g., McCabe and Trevino, 1996; West, Ravenscroft & Shrader, 2004). Cheating in this context is generally defined as either gaining access to another person’s work without authorization or as unpermitted collaboration on exams or assignments (Burrus, McGoldrick & Schuhmann, 2007; McCabe & Trevino, 1996; Sierra & Hyman, 2008). In an effort to understand student cheating researchers have relied on a variety of data ranging from student self-reports of cheating behavior (McCabe & Trevino, 1993) to hard evidence such as discarded cheat sheets (Pullen, Ortloff, Casey & Payne, 2000). The focus of these studies has varied from the role of new technologies in student cheating (McCabe & Trevino, 1996), to the differences between intended and spontaneous cheating (Genereux & McLeod, 1995) to the thought process of students who cheated in a particular setting (e.g., Kaufmann, West, Ravenscroft & Shrader, 2005; West, Ravenscroft & Shrader, 2004). Regardless of their data sources or focus, the studies on cheating have come to the singular conclusion that such behavior is fairly common. Even more disturbing for those of us who teach in business schools, comparative studies have found that business students often are the most prominent among the cheaters (McCabe & Trevino, 1993). For example, in a study looking at four hundred students across disciplines at two universities, Roig and Ballew (1994) found that students majoring in finance and accounting held the most tolerant attitudes toward cheating among all students in their sample. Although business school faculties and administrators have developed a heightened interest in cheating by students (McCabe &

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Shrader2001ClassroomCA, title={Classroom Cheating and Student Perceptions of Ethical Climate1}, author={Charles B. Shrader and Susan P. Ravenscroft and Jeffrey B. Kaufmann and Timothy D. West}, year={2001} }