Inspiring Integrity: An Exploration Of Academic Integrity Behaviors in Undergraduate Business Students

Restricted (Penn State Only)
Hulbert, Azalea Marie
Graduate Program:
Higher Education
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
February 27, 2018
Committee Members:
  • David S Guthrie, Dissertation Advisor
  • David S Guthrie, Committee Chair
  • John Jesse Cheslock, Committee Member
  • Karen Paulson, Committee Member
  • Glen Kreiner, Outside Member
  • Neal Hutchens, Special Member
  • academic integrity
  • academic dishonesty
  • honor code
  • grounded theory
  • ethnography
  • higher education
  • academic honesty
Despite consistent efforts at intervention by researchers and practitioners alike, academic dishonesty persists and students continue to cheat. This study applies a new lens to this persistent problem in the post-secondary context, using an anti-deficit approach to ask why students choose to be honest, instead of focusing exclusively on why students choose to cheat. A multi-level framework is utilized to organize the research and showcase critical factors that influence students to be (dis)honest, and data gathered from semi-structured, qualitative interviews and document analysis is utilized in order to gain insight into two key areas. First, using descriptions gathered primarily from faculty, administrators, and students, the study depicts the policy environment at the study site (Flagship College of Business). Second, using data gathered solely from student interviews and surveys, the study provides insight into how students conceptualize academic (dis)honesty and describe their motivations behind being (dis)honest; their reactions and responses to (dis)honesty; and their strategies for promoting a culture of integrity. Finally, these two perspectives (faculty and administrators versus students) are compared and contrasted in order to gain critical insight into ways in which institutions do – and can – more effectively influence students to engage in academic work with integrity.