Thirty-four first-year MBA students at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business have been disciplined for cheating, the school disclosed yesterday. Nine may be expelled, while the others face a year suspension. The names of the students involved aren’t being released due to federal student privacy restrictions.
As Bloomberg points out, business schools students are the biggest cheaters.
Business students are more likely to cut corners than those in any other academic discipline, several studies show. A Rutgers University survey last year found that cheating at business schools is common, even after ethics courses were added following scandals that bankrupted Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc.
“What is taught in a business program sometimes reinforces” students’ tendencies to be entrepreneurial and results-oriented, said Timothy Dodd, 50, executive director of the Center for Academic Integrity at Duke, in an interview from Durham, North Carolina. “Those sometimes aren't the people who understand that moral means have to be used to achieve moral ends.”
Or the problem might be that the people who are running the ethics and academic integrity programs at our major university believe that being “entrepreneurial” undermines ethics. Or that human behavior—yes, strangely, even business school students respond like ordinary humans—can be changed with Kantian platitudes rather than incentives. At least one business school we know of avoids these cheating scandals by refusing to release its students' grades, which greatly reduces the incentive to cheat.
Duke Cheating Probe Shows Failure of Post-Enron Ethics Classes [Bloomberg]