This year’s EBEN (European Business Ethics Network) Research Conference was held in Vienna, Austria, between 6-8th September 2018, in the topic of business ethics, with the focus on fraudulent behaviour in and of corporations. Nick Chandler, project leader of our ongoing research project on student cheating attended the conference with a presentation about lecturers’ reactions to the cheating of business students. As he put it, we hoped that the topic would be close enough to introduce ‘hot topics’ and give some ideas on how to develop our project further.
On the first day, the keynote speaker Richard Nielson gave a very challenging presentation for the social scientists on the relevance and usefulness of action research.
He compared social science approach with action research, presenting 6 cases as examples of the action research approach. To date, our research in the field of academic cheating has taken a qualitative perspective. The idea of action research in cheating seems fitting as this would mean deriving issues from interviews, action to be taken, and then examining the change that has taken place. Since research literature is rather thin on the ground, it means that a suitable research gap is there.
The following day was the day of Nick Chandler’s presentation with the title “Dealing with cheating? A qualitative analysis of reactions to cheating as modes of conflict management”.
The presentation was followed by several suggestions from professors of the audience, which included considering a longitudinal study after the introduction of a new ethical codex at Budapest Business School, and also distinguishing exams and plagiarism was suggested as they have differing levels of conflict. Besides this, the issue of national differences arose.
Another research direction emerged from the conference: taking the jump from interview responses to developing a full-blown questionnaire and taking the research on a wider scale. Further possible directions for 2019 include exploring areas of interviews as yet untouched in the realm of reactions to cheating, such as teachers’ emotions and conflict management strategies when faced with cheating. The emotional impact of cheating from a teacher’s perspective was also the theme for our presentation at another conference in Vilnius in October 2018.