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Document falsification and its impact on ethics


Discuss about the Document falsification is a type of fraud that is of increasing challenge in the business community.

Document falsification refers to the presentation of false document or theory. Falsification of documents is an ethical crime that contradicts society and business norms.  Fake documents are some of the trending issues that currently characterize most organizations. Ethical standards dictate that individuals should be fully accountable for their own actions. The situation is similar in the academic industry with most students currently present documents that are written on behalf. Presenting or submitting documents that are not their own document falsification and does not only touches students but also business sector. In the business sector, there are many companies that currently are run with intention of writing other students’ assignment. These assignments are presented in school or university for unmerited degree or diplomas. Document falsification is also part of companies where fake documents are also presented as though genuine. Theories have been put forward to explain various perspectives of ethics. There are consequences of document falsification that cut across the sphere of life from personal level to society level. To understand document falsification, it is important to understand MacDonald’s four levels of business ethics.

Document falsification is an ethical destructive crime that has also infiltrated into academic systems thereby corrupting the entire system with an immoral presentation of unmerited grades (Blackburn, 2001). Ethical standards require professionals to act in morally accepted principles of that constitute honesty and merited. Students should be accountable for their own action and practice. Document falsification is a fraud that goes in a cycle starting with student to employers. Document falsification as an issue in the business platform can be viewed based on the MacDonald’s four levels of business ethics. MacDonald’s four levels of business ethics are classified into society level, industry level, and company level and at a personal level. MacDonald is international fast-food chain founder that explain ethics into four different levels beginning by personal level, company level, industry level and society level. In order to understand the concept of student document falsification, it is important to analyze this phenomenon using MacDonald’s four levels of business ethics (Kidder, 2003).

Society level

Society is the apex of the triangle that forms the basis of the MacDonald’s four levels of business ethics. The society is currently affected by the document falsification as a nearly most institution in general tries to detect or identify false document presented by students claiming ownership. Firstly, currently, document falsification touches nearly all industries meaning all sectors of the economy are most likely to be affected by this fraud (Roger, 2011). This means that the fraud has infiltrated the entire society as grandaunts present papers that falsely attained in the university. Secondly, many offices both in public and private sectors are battling out fake papers that are presented as genuine certificates supposing obtained from universities. Thirdly, ethical standards at the society level will be jeopardized since companies will crop up that assist students to attain grades. The society is founded on the moral principles that are accepted all people in the society including companies that employ students after school (O'Connor, 2015). 

Analyzing document falsification using MacDonald's Four Levels of Business Ethics

Industry level

MacDonald’s four levels of business ethics classification indicate that ethics in the industry is where the entire sector and related sectors or production has an application of the ethics. Firstly, document falsification at the industry level is the act of ethical concern surrounding false documents that are presented without ethical standards. Secondly, university and related industries can be doomed affected with the document falsification as many students currently submit assignment or papers that are not their own. Industry level of MacDonald’s four levels of business ethics represents academic and related industries. For instance, the academic platform is an example of the industry affected by this unethical practice that also touch on other industries related to universities.  Moreover, in the industry, there are many elements of document falsification as published assignments and reports are submitted not only in an academic institution but also other organizations that require such papers. A similar concern has also been raised by business sector where business papers and reports or research papers are also written on behalf of people who employees who are supposed to write. 

Company level

Company level of the ethics is the level at which ethics touches as a single organization, for example, a university or an institution. At the university, for example, document falsification is evident in many ways. Firstly, students submitting the assignment that has been done by other people as though their own assignment (Perle, 2004). Sometimes the student pays other professional or freelance academic writers to write on their behalf. The assignment is therefore written in a way that can bypass all the plagiarism checks without detection. The university is forced to develop systems that can detect plagiarism though this does not detect indicate the connection between student submitting a paper and the paper itself (Russell, 2013).  Secondly, this fraud is connected to two industries, one for the writer and another for the university. The company therefore falsely gives out a certificate to the student for the unmerited grade. This document is further presented in another institution where the grandaunt seeks employment. In another instance, other students use or own up another person’s theory as though their own idea. Despite this being plagiarism, the student also present the idea documented as a false document. To bypass plagiarism theories are rewritten in own word as own idea (Cully, 2014). This document falsification and contradict the ethical or moral standards of professionalism.

MacDonald's Four Levels of Business Ethics

Personal Level

At the personal level, an individual, manager or office take full responsibility of own action. Personhood can be termed as individual accountability that gives the full responsibility of own action and is directly reflected in use and submission of papers.  Firstly, the individual student should take full responsibility and accountability for papers they may falsely give as though personal. It is unethical to submit documents that a student did not write as though they have written and can also be termed as immoral. According to Lynch, (2002), morality dictates that one need to do something that does not contradict what is morally accepted. In case of such immoral act, the student should take full moral accountability. Honesty begins at a personal level and this means that once a student becomes disobedient the whole system becomes corrupt. One theory for ethics is Kantianism that emphasis on individual action rather than the result. This based on the student's action that is not morally accepted as opposing the result that the student obtains from the false assignment (Miller, 2009).

Theories of ethics

There are different theories that been advanced to explain ethics especially document falsification. Some of these theories are consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics and relativist perspectives. These theories look at the different perspective of ethics and each has a different view on morality, accountability, and standards.

Consequentialism theory looks at the ethics from consequences of an action rather than the action itself. Unlike MacDonald’s four levels of business ethics that just focus on the outward level of business ethics. The theory explains that students, for instance, are judged base on the result not considering the document submitted in the university. Though document falsification by the student may not be morally accepted, it is only judged from the consequent of action rather than intention or action. At the end of every action that one does there are consequences that follow. This is particularly connected to the accountability of an individual for their own action. Whether the result is positive or negative, the student is solemnly accountable for own behavior as this will be reflected on their work performance once employed or working (Russell, 2013).

Deontology, on the other hand, is a perspective that looks at the nature of duty and obligation, unlike consequentialism theory. It is the duty of the student to study and do the assignment. It is also the obligation of students to study and write an assignment and this dictates that only qualified person is awarded certificate (Portmore & Douglas, 2011). The whole perspective does not consider any action but just the nature of duty and obligation that is required of an individual. This implies that student that has a duty to study attend lectures and are assessed as the nature of their duty need not involve in other practice that is not their obligation. According to Salzman (1995), Deontology is partly in agreement with the virtue theory since all point to an obligation that is expected of an individual (Sutton et al, 2010).

Consequences of document falsification

Another theory is virtue ethics that considers character above all another aspect of personhood. This is different from other theories that solemnly look at action, result or consequences. Virtue ethics rely on the personal accountability practice and one needs to be responsible for own action and act in the morally accepted manner (Hoy, 2005). As in the case of the university, the morality of student should be based on a personal character that is closely related to deontology even though deontology explains ethics from the duty perspective (Pojman & Fieser, 2009). This is similar to virtue ethics that also consider personal accountability hence as student nature of duty and obligation should bring strong personal character based on what is morally right. Virtue ethics also contradict consequentialism theory that fully judge according to the result and this means there is no need for accountability or character (Devettere, 2002).

Theory of relativism explains that there is no absolute truth even though ethics is based on what is true and morally accepted. The theory contradicts other theories that focus on a certain aspect of ethics or standards of practice that are accepted in business practice. As students get their assignment written for them, relativism theory requires or indicates that there is no truth and anything is just accepted (Michael, 2010). Whether the action contradicts what is morally accepted, the theory of relativism just comments that practice can be accepted so long as the owner remains realistic about owning the work. This implies that if the student owns up the assignment regardless of the source of the assignment the student remains the owner of work. The relativist theory Furthermore, explains ethics in a manner that does not also agree with deontology theory that relies on duty and obligation of a student in school (Lafollette, 2014).

Consequences of document falsification

Document falsification is not morally accepted the practice does not confer to standards of practice. Document falsification has consequences both to the student and their profession. Firstly, presenting false documents is a crime since it contradicts the ethical requirement and duty or obligation of students. It is the duty of students to study and write an assignment, having the assignment done for a student at a fee is contradicting duty and obligation of students. Secondly, document falsification leads to unmerited grades that are awarded to students despite not doing the assignments (Cavalier, 2013). Thirdly, presenting documents falsely as though personal kills the professionalism as grades are awarded to students they are not qualified. Qualification for grades should be based on the ability of the student to study, write and are assessed.  Fourthly, employment may face problems since students who graduate with false documents will present fake papers to the employer (Kamm, 2006). Finally, the whole society is infiltrated with the immoral behaviors as many companies also engage in assignment writing practice. The situation will worsen the academic industry as many people will have unmerited degrees, diplomas or certificates. The society expects the students to exhibit professionalism, accountability and ethical standards that are acceptable to the society (Doris & Stich, 2008; Wallace, 2007). Therefore, individuals who commit the crime of document falsification should be burned from learning for a specific period of time as punishment for their action.

Different theories explaining the ethics of document falsification


In conclusion, document falsification is a crime that involves student presenting assignment, report or essay written by a paid writer as though students own written work. MacDonald's four levels of business ethics explain the four levels of business ethics ranging from personal ethic at the lowest level followed by company, industry, and society at the apex. There are also other theories that have been advanced to explain ethics from a different perspective. Some of these theories are consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics and relativist perspectives. Document falsification is linked to consequences that are not only felt at a personal level but also at the society level.


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