Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 95, Issue 1, pp 23–37 | Cite as

Ethics Instruction and the Perceived Acceptability of Cheating

  • James M. Bloodgood
  • William H. Turnley
  • Peter E. Mudrack


This study examined whether undergraduate students’ perceptions regarding the acceptability of cheating were influenced by the amount of ethics instruction the students had received and/or by their personality. The results, from a sample of 230 upper-level undergraduate students, indicated that simply taking a business ethics course did not have a significant influence on students’ views regarding cheating. On the other hand, Machiavellianism was positively related to perceiving that two forms of cheating were acceptable. Moreover, in testing for moderating relationships, the results indicated that the extent to which taking a business ethics course influenced attitudes varied substantially across individuals. Specifically, taking a course in business ethics did result in students who scored lower on Machiavellianism holding even more negative views regarding certain forms of cheating. In addition, individuals with higher grade point averages (GPAs) who had taken a course in business ethics were also less accepting of certain forms of cheating than individuals with similar GPAs who had not taken the business ethics course. The implications of these findings are discussed.


academic cheating business ethics course GPA Machiavellianism passive cheating 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • James M. Bloodgood
    • 1
  • William H. Turnley
    • 1
  • Peter E. Mudrack
    • 1
  1. 1.Kansas State UniversityManhattanU.S.A.

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