Cheating Among Business Students: Determining the Influence of Religion, Perceptions of Cheating, and the Campus Environment

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

Academy of Business Education

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

This study addresses the factors that contribute to dishonest behavior of business majors. It also looks at how today’s students and business professors define academic dishonesty. Special emphasis is given to whether enrollment in religion and ethics classes and attendance at religious activities influence a student’s definitions of and participation in dishonest behavior. In the spring of 2006, the authors surveyed students enrolled in business courses at three institutions: a Catholic-affiliated college in the northeast, a Baptist-affiliated university in the south, and a non-religious affiliated university in the south. All three are private institutions with a student population of 2,500 or less. The same survey was repeated in the spring of 2007. Business faculty at all three institutions were given a similar, shorter survey to determine their perceptions of what defined cheating. In addition to the survey data, the authors looked at each institution’s academic integrity statements. The college in the northeast has no formal academic integrity statement; the Baptist-affiliated university has an academic integrity statement, but is inconsistently enforced. The non-religious affiliated university has an academic integrity statement that is strongly enforced with actionable ramifications. Preliminary results show that students at the religious-affiliated institutions cheat as frequently as students at large, public universities. Males are more likely to cheat than females, and upperclassmen more likely than younger students to cheat. Students for whom religion is personally important are less likely to cheat.