A Study of Cheating Beliefs, Engagement, and Perception – The Case of Business and Engineering Students

Journal of Academic Ethics 17 (3):291-312 (2019)
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Studies have found that academic dishonesty is widespread. Of particular interest is the case of business students since many are expected to be the leaders of tomorrow. This study examines the cheating behaviors and perceptions of 819 business and engineering students at three private Lebanese universities, two of which are ranked as the top two universities in the country. Our results show that cheating is pervasive in the universities to an alarming degree. We first analyzed the data by looking at the variables gender, college, GPA, and whether the students had taken the business ethics course. We then supplemented this analysis by building an ordered logistic regression model to test whether these independent variables affect the level of engagement in cheating behavior when we control for the other variables. The results show that males engage in cheating more than females and that students with a lower GPA engage in cheating more. We initially find a difference between business and engineering students, but once we control for the other variables, this difference ceases to exist. Our most surprising result is that the business ethics course seems to have a detrimental effect on the cheating behavior of students. Finally, we find that perception plays a key role in defining the behavior of students. The more that students perceive that others are engaging in a certain behavior, the higher the probability that they will engage in the behavior, even if they believe that this behavior constitutes cheating.



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