Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 154, Issue 3, pp 631–642 | Cite as

Comprehending the Cultural Causes of English Writing Plagiarism in Chinese Students at a Western-Style University

  • Mark X. James
  • Gloria J. MillerEmail author
  • Tyler W. Wyckoff
Original Paper


The purpose of this quantitative study of 401 students is to identify common motivations for Chinese students to plagiarize on written English assignments and ultimately to demystify and understand the mindset of Chinese students who do plagiarize. According to a regression analysis of these data, the most significant factor relating to likelihood to self-report plagiarism for Chinese students is the belief in a “standard answer,” which represents the correct answer to a given question. The regression results also suggest that students who believe that imitation of experts is important to learning are more likely to self-report plagiarism, and that business students are more likely to self-report than non-business students. The other factors examined in our model, such as English writing ability; ability to express one’s self in English writing; embarrassment about English writing ability; concern for accuracy of English writing; and concerns about grade point average, were not significant predictors of self-reported plagiarism. These results give a key insight into the English writing plagiarism behaviors of Chinese students studying in Western higher education.


Plagiarism Chinese students Standard answer Imitation of experts Culture 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark X. James
    • 1
  • Gloria J. Miller
    • 2
    Email author
  • Tyler W. Wyckoff
    • 3
  1. 1.Columbus State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Austin Peay State UniversityClarksvilleUSA
  3. 3.LindsayUSA

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