Moral Reasoning, Academic Dishonesty, and Business Students

Charles H Belanger, Valorie M. Leonard, Rolland LeBrasseur


This study links moral reasoning, academic dishonesty, and business students. Undergraduate business students (N = 1357) from eight Ontario (Canada) universities responded to a survey to express their perceptions and expectations of their academic environment and the variables that can help them to understand what is morally right and what is morally wrong. Results revealed these emerging adults welcome some moral guidance but they are not inclined to encumber themselves with too many rules. Their main expectations revolve around self-confidence, independence of thought and action, acceptance of responsibility for themselves, and what academic dishonesty involves.  The authors discuss these findings in the context of moral development of emerging adults who are challenged to achieve identity coherence and ethical judgment. For their part, business schools have the obligation to offer enriching academic experiences and train values-based leaders without preaching ‘morality’.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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