Academic Integrity in a Wider Context
Students may be more likely to adopt the principles of academic integrity if they can place the concept in a wider context. If they accept that integrity is a foundational human trait, it will aid in their understanding that integrity extends beyond the walls of the academy. Students operate within a wider system that includes others they encounter on campus and relationships they have outside of the academic environment, including those with current and future employers. With guidance, students will understand that their reputation with these individuals and the degree of respect these individuals may hold for them is based on whether they see the student as honest, fair and trustworthy.
By framing the concept more broadly, students will understand that the reputation of their institution rests upon academic excellence, and that excellence gives value to the credential they earn upon graduation. Students will realize that employers prefer to hire individuals who have graduated from reputable institutions and have not engaged in dishonest acts in part because students who cheat, or even simply tolerate academic dishonesty, are likely to engage in unethical behaviours and decision-making in the workplace. (Carpenter et al., 2004). Employers want to hire those who show integrity, can add value to a business organization and can enhance its reputation.
When the principles of integrity are embraced and put into practice, they become the cornerstones of a strong community and a demonstration of global citizenship.
It has become more widely understood that social and cultural factors can influence the expression and perception of integrity (David, 2015)(Murdock & Stephens, 2007). Not all students purposefully act without integrity. The next section considers the social and cultural lives of our students in the discussion of the application of these principles.