Technological Approaches to Maintaining Academic Integrity in Management Education

Technological Approaches to Maintaining Academic Integrity in Management Education

William Heisler, Fred Westfall, Robert Kitahara
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-510-6.ch029
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Challenges to academic integrity in management education appear to be on the rise in U.S. institutions of higher education. In an effort to reduce cheating and plagiarism in business education, universities have turned to a variety of technological approaches. However, technology cannot be considered a panacea for ensuring academic integrity and is probably best viewed as a “stop gap” measure that can eventually be compromised. The authors begin this chapter by describing how declining ethics has been evidenced recently in business. Then, they present a review of the literature describing the extent and causes of academic dishonesty and discuss what some educational institutions are doing to address academic integrity, including calls for an increase in ethics education. Finally, they review technological approaches used by many colleges and universities to prevent cheating and plagiarism, examining the features, strengths, weaknesses, and current status of each technology.
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The Ethical Environment

More sensational headlines come from the world of business practice with disturbing frequency. Complex accounting regulations, policies and procedures, intricately intertwined international relationships, and significant technology improvements make it seductively easier for greedy and unethical business practitioners to evade detection and reap enormous personal gain at the expense of other stakeholders in the organization and the investing public.

One of the more publicized business scandals of the times was Enron, America’s seventh largest company with 21,000 employees in more than 40 countries. Several key executives, including CEO Kenneth Lay, CFO Andrew Fastow and chief auditor David Duncan, conspired to defraud investors, launder money stolen from the company and hide the corporation’s enormous debt through deceptive accounting practices (BBC, 2002). Although no illegal actions have been discovered governmental levels, the Enron scheme included developing close ties with high ranking members of the administration in the U.S. and Great Britain to influence the energy policies of those countries. Enron executives formed complex agreements with several international companies and skimmed substantial portions of the proceeds for themselves (Lawyershop, 2002).

In one of the largest corporate scandals and cases of accounting fraud in U.S. history, former CEO Bernard Ebbers, CFO Scott Sullivan, Controller David Myers, and Director of General Accounting Buford Yates, used questionable accounting methods to hide WorldCom’s declining financial condition and inflate profitability to manipulate the price of WorldCom stock (, 2007). These executives and others were convicted of securities fraud, conspiracy and falsifying financial statements. These illegal actions misrepresented over $3.8 billion over five operating quarters and, when discovered, resulted in 17,000 WorldCom workers losing their jobs and created plummeting stock values for investors (Hancock, 2002)

Through deceptive accounting practices John Rigas and his son, Timothy, managed to defraud and hide billions of dollars of debt from Adelphia Communications and investors (Grant & Nuzum, 2004; Associated Press, 2004). They flaunted their ill-gotten gains with lavish lifestyles and “eye-popping luxuries” shamelessly using corporate assets as their personal sources of funds. Ironically, because of the complex internal protections contained in their agreements with the company, Adelphia paid an estimated $27.8 million towards the Rigas’ criminal defense (McCarthy, 2004).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Pattern Recognition: The assignment of some sort of output value to a given input value, according to some specific algorithm; the technologies designed to provide a reasonable answer for all possible inputs

Data Mining: The process of extracting patterns from large data sets by combining methods from statistics and artificial intelligence with database management

Biometrics: Methods for uniquely recognizing humans based upon one or more intrinsic physical or behavioral traits

Physiological Biometrics: Methods for uniquely recognizing humans based upon one or more intrinsic physical traits

Bluetooth: A proprietary, open wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances (using short wavelength radio transmissions) from fixed and mobile devices, creating personal area networks with high levels of security

Academic Integrity: A fundamental value of teaching, learning, and scholarship that involves a commit to honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility

Virtues Approach: An approach to ethical behavior that assumes that there are certain ideals toward which we should strive (e.g., honesty, fairness justice) which provide for the full development of our humanity

Artificial Intelligence: The study and design of intelligent agents, where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chances of success

Behavioral Biometrics: Methods for uniquely recognizing humans based upon one or more intrinsic behavioral traits

Electronic Jamming: Deliberate radiation or reflection of electromagnetic energy for the purpose of disrupting ‘enemy’ use of electronic devices or systems

Plagiarism: The unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work

Ethics: Values relating to human conduct with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions

Lockdown Browser: Technology used to prevent users of a given software application (e.g. examination) from performing other software functions (e.g. print, copy, go to another URL, access other applications) on the same computer

Remote Proctor: A proprietary device which consists of a web-camera, biometric scanner, and microphone that provides a 360-degree view of the test environment for off-site monitoring of student behavior during exams

Technology: The branch of knowledge that deals with the interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, information systems, applied science and pure science; the scientific method and material used to achieve a commercial or industrial objective

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