Rationalizing the Decision to Cheat: An Empirical Analysis to Determine Whether Social Rational Orientation can Predict Academic Dishonesty
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Academic dishonesty is a wide-spread issue that plagues educational institutions, including those in higher education. The purpose of higher education is to increase knowledge and foster learning within students who are willing to put forth the effort necessary to earn a degree. However, students that take short cuts in their learning are not only undermining their learning experience, but are potentially putting others at risk in their profession. Due to the negative implications of cheating, researchers are trying to uncover the characteristics that encompass a typical cheater. While numerous variables have been tested to determine their effects on cheating behaviors, discrepancies exist that suggest inconclusive results. Previous literature yielded no studies on the relationship between social rational orientation and academic dishonesty. This study tested if there was a correlation between social rational action orientations and the likelihood of engaging in academically dishonest acts. The relationship between course value and academic dishonesty was also examined overall and within each rational orientation group. This study found that rational orientation and perceived course value predicted the likelihood of engaging in academically dishonest acts.