Student Motivation and Academic Dishonesty: A Meta-Analytic Investigation
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Academic dishonesty plagues nearly every educational institution. It can lead to serious consequences, including the illegitimate earning of credentials, inability to perform job duties, and continued deviance within society. Although prior research has investigated various predictors of academic dishonesty, a research synthesis in the form of meta-analysis is warranted to bring clarity to a complex body of literature. This dissertation was guided by two research questions: (1) What is the relationship between achievement motivation and academic dishonesty? and (2) If substantial variation exists across studies, to what extent do research characteristics like academic dishonesty form, type of task, and student demographics, influence the magnitude and direction of this relationship? This dissertation addressed the research questions by synthesizing the academic dishonesty literature investigating how academic dishonesty is influenced by six motivational processes: (a) students’ satisfaction of their basic needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness, (b) students’ goal orientation and classroom-level goal structure, (c) students’ task-related expectancies and values, (d) students’ self-efficacy for successfully completing academic tasks, (e) students’ perception of the future, and (f) students’ causal attributions. This meta-analysis of 80 studies examined the influence of achievement motivation on academic dishonesty for students. Results indicated that negative correlates of academic dishonesty were classroom-level mastery goal structure, student-level mastery goals, intrinsic motivation and value, self-efficacy, utility value, and internal locus of control. Additionally, motivation factors that were positively related with academic dishonesty were amotivation and personal performance approach goals. Furthermore, significant moderators that influenced the relationship between motivation and academic dishonesty were institution type, country of origin, form of academic dishonesty, and type of task the academically dishonest act was performed on. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.