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Document falsification and the increasing fraud challenge it offers to the business community

Discuss about the Document Falsification in an Organization.

Ethics is an aspect that is studied all across different professionalisms and fields. Business ethics, therefore, refers to company standards, sets of values, principles, and norms that are formed with the aim of governing the actions and behavior of an individual in a place (Bridgman, 2012). It examines morals or immoral problems that arise in the business environment. These ethics originate from people, organizational statements or the legal system. Examples of common business ethics are honesty, integrity, loyalty, fairness, leadership, and responsibility. On the other hand, business sustainability refers to the management and coordination of all environmental, social and financial aspects to provide an ethical, successful business (Baker, 2015). Business sustainability is considered to be in three categories. These include; corporate culture that incorporates the principles of every business decisions. Community or social that ensures that the business offers sustainable services to the society by giving back to them, either through charitable donations or offering internship the young members of the society.

The environmental aspect ensures that the business is committed to greener friendly environment. The environmental issue is achievable by decreasing or eliminating the destructive environmental omissions (Choi et al., 2015). Every individual affects the sustainability of business in a market place either positively or negatively. This article, therefore, examines the business ethical issues, sustainability elements, theories, and concepts behind document falsification. It takes into account to the MacDonald’s ethical levels and in contrast to other primary business ethics. It also examines the consequence that befalls a student that commits the cheating.

In a systematic study, Vazquez (2016) denotes that a falsified document in accordance with Section 250 of the Australian Crime Act, is one that is purported to have been altered or made by an individual who did not work on the document, on the authority of an individual who is not authorized to have the document, in a place or on a date where and when it was not made respectively, in terms, the document was not made in at the original document preparation.

Document falsification is very paramount in most of the local and international colleges and universities among other academic institutions (McCabe, 2015). According to this study, document forgery is the process by which student in conjunction with unauthorized organization or individual obtains a particular document to present to the university as a genuine academic work. University and college students are prone to these types of practices. Students who are pursuing their degrees or masters program tend to pay some organizations or individuals to undertake their research work or their faculty assignments. They then submit them to the lectures. Under the University Academic and Policy Law, document falsification is a crime, and unethical that calls for punishment for the student for both the student and the organization that offers the service.

The ethical idea behind student submitting assignments done b others at a small fee

The document falsification practiced by students is not ethical. The practice is considered to be an academic dishonesty (Huang, 2016). It contradicts the research and academic ethics drawn by the University Academic Board. The university academic and research ethics dictates that every student should do their research publication. They should not take somebody’s work and present as their own. The ethics dictate that there should be no collaboration in doing individual work, such as copying during the exam or asking for assistance in the form of payment to undertake the student’s role during the research work. They should ensure the originality of the academic work. Therefore, the practice is deceitful, and any academic certificate gained through it should be revocable.

Ethical of document falsification by an organization is unethical. Business groups always have one objective; to make money, nevertheless, the money should be made by the set business ethics. According to the MacDonald’s four levels of business ethics, it is unethical to for an organization to offer document falsification to the university students to present as their academic work (Dominici, 2017). The MacDonald four levels of business ethics are personal level, organizational level, national level and international level.

The personal level is also known as an individual level, a level where one must always participate in decision-making taking into account of what is right to do in different circumstances (Papish, 2016). At this level, honesty is paramount to the individual. One must be able to admit either in committing a wrong, making an honest mistake, or making a bad decision. The personal level calls for personal responsibility for any decision made. Therefore according to MacDonald personal level business ethics, it is unacceptable for an organization to offer such services to students who are pursuing their academic program since it contradicts with the Academic Regulations. The organizational level looks at the ethical action of the organization. It states that any mistake committed by a body is as a result of the decision made within the organization. Organization values should bring benefits to both the stakeholder and the society. When an organization receives payment from a student to do what is illegal like falsifying an academic work, and then it is being termed as corruptible.


National level ethics dwells on the societal expectations such as good business behavior (Papish, 2016). It dictates that a business should play a fair ground that conforms to the law of the country. Business, therefore, is not expected to accept bribery or any other form of cash that is against the law for it to thrive. Therefore an organization that receives money from university students to assist them in falsifying academic documents is committing a crime that should be punishable. The practice will not only affect the student’s academic but will also put the reputation of such an organization in question.

The unethical idea behind organization offering this type of service on the basis of MacDonald’s four levels of business ethics

International level entails all aspects across the national boundary to curb the problems that affect the world academic institutions as a whole (McCabe, 2015). These efforts aim at addressing all global sustainability of every ethical behavior for the benefit of the students, their future career, and the community as well. However, when an organization practices document falsification to the university students, it tends to undermine millennium goals that are set by the international organizations and academic institutions to offer high-quality education to every individual. The practice will offer a significant number of poor professionalism and law integrity graduates.

There are major ethical theories adopted by various business organizations both large and small in the local and international level. These ethical principles include consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics as pointed out by (Moraes, Carrigan, Bosangit, Ferreira, & McGrath, 2015). Consequentialism is a moral philosophy that dictates that whatever one does depend on whatever happens afterward (Kahn, 2012). Consequentialism is the act of worrying more about the result than the action itself. As a result, a morally right action will ultimately lead to good result without taking into account of the means from the consequentialist point of view. In other words, it says that if a goal is morally right, then the method of achieving the goal is acceptable (Morgan et al., 2015). For instance, every student in the university has the urge of scoring high points. In academic, therefore, according to the theory, the student is obliged to score the high marks without looking at the method used to get the marks, hence the student will opt to seek assistance from the organization that offers document falsifications and presents it to the lecture on their work. In the end, if not detected, the student will score high marks and be awarded marks or their degree. There are two different types of consequentialism. These are; Utilitarianism that states individual should stress more on human-being while Hedonism stresses more on human pleasure and satisfaction.

The deontological ethical theory asserts that every employee should stick to their obligations and duties when making any ethical decision that can have a direct or indirect effect on an individual or organization (Saja, 2013). According to this study, the individual adopting the theory need to follow and uphold the recommended ethical obligations since this is what is considered morally upright by the business. The theory argues that anything good must be good in itself and good without qualification. For example, an organization offering assistance on research work to a university student will adhere to the terms offered to the student and the organization.

A contrast of the practice from the perspective of consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics theories

Deontology offers both parties a good ground for their self-interest. According to Moraes et al. (2015), students often get there work done and obtain their degree without purely qualifying for them while the organization can make money without upholding business ethics. Nonetheless, it has got a negative attribute. The negative characteristic is that both parties break the laws. The students are not honest in their academic presentation, and the organization is not being honest and ethical in the activities and services it offers as it core function to the students. The deontology ethic does not focus its benefit to the diverse society but to an individual, the student that seeks aid in the academic work. The organization practices this without thinking of the consequences it will have to the general society.


The virtue ethical theory, also known as character-based ethics insists on judging an individual character rather than the actions they comprehend (Papish, 2016).  The theory provides guidance on the roles and behaviors a person should strive to achieve.  In this theory, people are more interested in assessing the character of an individual other than the goodness or badness of a particular action. The virtue ethics requires one to engage in a business that doesn't contradict it. For instance, if a student acquires an academic work through the help of an organization, it may be detected by the lecture. If it happens that the lecture knows the character of the student as better than other students, the lecturer will judge the student more leniently than a student who always performs worst than other colleagues. 

Unlike other business ethics, the virtue ethic does not take into consideration of the change of one’s character from real moral to immoral. An honest student may suddenly become dishonest unnoticed. The virtue ethic theory differs with other business ethics such as accountability, where one should be accountable for their action. In this case, neither the organization nor the student will be responsible. It also does not consider the safety of the student and the society as a whole. The student might be unlucky and get detected by the lecturer. That will lead to a disciplinary case whereby the student might be suspended from the faculty for not less than two academic years or get expelled from the university. The student will either gets expulsion or not but will eventually be in the society with little trust and poor professionalism.

Document falsification is a crime and has implications for any students who participate in such activities as pointed out by Thomson (2010). There are always set rules and policies in every university that addresses such issues. These practices do destroy not only the student's ambition but also affects the integrity of the university as a whole, an aspect that as well affects the qualification and development of the student in their future career. Document falsification, therefore, has various consequences and penalties depending on the level of which the student has committed the academic dishonesty as well as the policy of every institution offering the learning services to the students.

In some institutions, the students are often forced to repeat the assignment with or without grade reduction. The student may also get a zero grading. Other institutions also ensure that the he student found guilty of the act is suspended from the faculty for a period not less than two academic years. The students may as well be expellable from the university, and the student’s degree may be revoked by the academic disciplinary board. In a systematic study, ///// point out that on being found guilty with a falsified document in Australia, an individual can face up to a ten-years imprisonment.


The law applies for every individual found of a machinery or equipment for making a false document or found in possession of the falsified document as pointed out by McCabe (2015). The same study denotes that forgery and false document offenses are often penalized harshly with the aim of acting as a deterrent to others with a similar intention.  As a result, the severity of the penalties tends to reflect the current community attitudes and standards to such types of offences. In fact, Huang (2016) puts it that forgery of documents as an offence that comes with heavy penalties as though one has been found guilty with forgery or fraud, an aspect that requires an individual to seek legal advice instantly even if he or she intend to plead guilty. The offence comes under the Crime Act of 2010 that was mainly created in a move to prosecute offenders that allegedly commit forgery and falsification of documents.

Conclusion

Document falsification is unethical practice and a criminal offense. The practice is prevalent among many university students who acquire their credentials through illegal means. The practice should be forcibly discouraged in the universities through severe punishment. Though other theories such as consequentialism and deontology tend to justify the practice, all students and business enterprises should focus on the MacDonald ethical systems. The MacDonald good levels have better societal and business advantages than consequentialism and deontology. Students should abstain from this practice to continue creating societal trust and honor placed upon them. Students who are prone to document falsification always end up having poor professional character.

References

Baker, M. (2015). Social Business, Business as if People Mattered: Variations on a Theme by Schumacher (1973). Sustainability, 7(6), 6478-6496. https://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su7066478

Bridgman, T. (2010). Beyond the Manager’s Moral Dilemma: Rethinking the ‘Ideal-Type’ Business Ethics Case. Journal Of Business Ethics, 94(S2), 311-322. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-011-0759-3

Choi, T., & Li, Y. (2015). Sustainability in Fashion Business Operations. Sustainability, 7(12), 15400-15406. https://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su71115400

Dominici, G. (2017). Governing Business Systems. Theories and Challenges for Systems Thinking in Practice. Systems Research And Behavioral Science, 34(3), 310-312. https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.2454

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Kahn, L. (2012). Rule Consequentialism and Scope. Ethical Theory And Moral Practice, 15(5), 631-646. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10677-012-9357-4

McCabe, C. (2015). Publishing ethics: fabrication, falsification and plagiarism. Endocrine Abstracts. https://dx.doi.org/10.1530/endoabs.37.ew1.3

Moore, G. (2006). The Institute of Business Ethics/European Business Ethics Network-UK Student Competition in Business Ethics. Business Ethics: A European Review, 15(3), 292-292. https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8608.2006.00443.x

Moraes, C., Carrigan, M., Bosangit, C., Ferreira, C., & McGrath, M. (2015). Understanding Ethical Luxury Consumption Through Practice Theories: A Study of Fine Jewellery Purchases. Journal Of Business Ethics. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-015-2893-9

Morgan-Knapp, C., & Goodman, C. (2014). Consequentialism, Climate Harm and Individual Obligations. Ethical Theory And Moral Practice, 18(1), 177-190. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10677-014-9517-9

Papish, L. (2016). CAPS Psychology and the Empirical Adequacy of Aristotelian Virtue Ethics. Ethical Theory And Moral Practice, 20(3), 537-549. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10677-016-9769-7

Parker, S. (2012). Theories of Entrepreneurship, Innovation And The Business Cycle. Journal Of Economic Surveys, 26(3), 377-394. https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6419.2012.00728.x

Saja, K. (2013). Developing Deontology. New Essays in Ethical Theory. The Philosophical Quarterly, 64(254), 200-202. https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pq/pqt026

Thomson, G. (2010). Taxonomy of Business Ethics Theories. SSRN Electronic Journal. https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1718850

Trong , L. (2012). Corporate social responsibility, ethics, and corporate governance. Social Responsibility Journal, 8(4), 547-560. https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/17471111211272110

Vazquez, P. (2016). Family Business Ethics: At the Crossroads of Business Ethics and Family Business. Journal Of Business Ethics. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3171-1

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