Student Attitudes Toward Cheating May Spill Over Into Their Careers
Jim LiebeltJim Liebelt's Blog
- 2019 Dec 04
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on ScienceDaily.
A recent study authored by professors at two California State University campuses, including San Francisco State University, found that students' tolerance for cheating has a high probability of bleeding over into their careers later on. That's concerning to San Francisco State Professor and Chair of Marketing Foo Nin Ho, a co-author of the study. "If [students] have this attitude while they're in school -- that it's OK to cheat in school -- that attitude, unfortunately, will carry over to the corporate boardroom," he said.
The study tackles two questions: If students tolerate cheating in the classroom, will they also tolerate unethical behavior in their careers? And what's shaping these attitudes? Part of the researchers' intention behind the study was to give educators insight into what's happening in their classrooms so they can challenge and possibly change student beliefs about cheating.
To conduct the study, the authors surveyed nearly 250 undergraduate marketing students from Cal State San Marcos and SF State. Students were asked to respond to statements about cheating and ethics such as "It's cheating to ask another student what was on the test" and "Within a business firm, the ends justify the means." They were asked to choose a response along a scale that ranged from strongly agree to strongly disagree.
The survey found that students who were more tolerant of cheating in a classroom also demonstrated an openness to unethical behavior on the job. The authors then went a step further and pinned down the underlying forces influencing these attitudes.
The results revealed that group-oriented students, or collectivists, had a more laissez-faire attitude toward cheating than their more individualistic classmates. Collectivists want to maintain group cohesion, so they're more likely to be OK with unethical behaviors, Brodowsky says. "To save face they might count on cheating to make sure they all do well. They also won't rat each other out because that will make people look bad."