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The Key Drivers for Students to Get Help from Other Sources

Question:

Discuss about the Importance of Plagiarism across the Universities.

It would be correct to say that plagiarism is an important issue across the universities. Generally speaking there could be intended or unintended plagiarism. However, an increased extend of plagiarism for university students is document falsification. There are various cases and chances of document falsification. In a classical sense, university students can get their assignments done from other sources. The students would in turn pay the organizations or individuals to get their assignment done. The problem for universities is that they cannot determine if student has done the assignment or someone else has done it (Bakhtiyari & Salehi, 2014). The students would pay for the genuine content so that it passes the check of plagiarism software. It is observed that In the University sector individuals and businesses are offering assignment writing services to students, in effect writing an essay or report to published assessment criteria, for a fee, which the student then falsely submits it as his or her own work (Prinsloo & Slade, 2013). There are various ethical questions around this sort of document falsification. Is it ethical at the end of student to get assignment help from other people? Or, is it ethical for people to write the assignments for students?

While, it is important to discuss the above questions, it is equally important to understand the key drivers or motivation for student to get the work done from other sources. Obviously, students have to pay for these services, then why do students take these services. One of the reasons is that assignment is too difficult, or students does not have time to complete the task or the third reason could be that student does not have an attitude or will to complete the task and he or she is looking for shortcuts (Drumwright & Murphy, 2014). The objective of this paper is to discuss this type of document falsification with respect to various ethical theories and models.

It is not a very uncommon practice for students to get the work done from other sources. It is correct that it raises various ethical questions. However, students still engage in these practices. The practice of a student paying for someone to write an assignment and then submitting it as their own work is indeed an ethical issue. This is an ethical issue because students are expected to complete their work by themselves. The entire idea of students getting education in universities is to learn and gain knowledge (Fusch & Ness, 2017). The knowledge does not come just by enrolling in different courses. The knowledge comes when students work hard and learn the concepts. The assignments and assessments are important for students to learn the concepts. Therefore, it is important that students should not get trapped in the issues of document falsification. The ethical issues involved in the scenario of plagiarism can be discussed with respect to personal issues and professional issues. Professional ethics are a set of guidelines that protect your professional identity through strict rules learned through the teachings of an institution (Yadav & Rawal, 2016). Personal ethics, on the other hand, is personal moral qualities learned through the interactions of friends and family which exemplify honesty, care, and sincerity. The issue of plagiarism and taking assignment help from other sources is a mix of personal ethical issue and professional ethical issue. It is a personal ethical issue and students are expected to show high moral standards. It is believed that students are the building blocks of society and therefore, students must have high ethical and moral values. At the same time, the issue of plagiarism and taking assignment help from other sources is also an issue of professional ethics (Vehvilainen & Lofstrom, 2017). It is an issue of professional ethics because the professional entity, universities in this case, does not allow or does not expect students to engage in any sort of plagiarism issue. In fact, the professional body, university administration in this case, have strict policies around plagiarism and students can even be disqualified from course in case of plagiarism. Having said that, it is also true that some sort of plagiarism could be acceptable. For example, is students are writing an essay on ethics and they want to define the term, ‘utilitarianism ethics’. It may not make much senses to change the definition of a term (Nam & Weaver, 2015). In this case, student may want to use the definition, ‘as it is’. However, in this case, it is important that student must give the proper reference to the definition. The underlying inference is that student must give reference to the sources from where he or she is taking the definition. As a thumb rule, it can be said that a plagiarism score up to 10% is fine. In fact, there are various universities that consider the issue of plagiarism only when the score of plagiarism software is more than 10% (Engel, 2016).

Ethical Questions around Document Falsification

From the organizations’ point of view it is indeed unethical to offer this type of services. By indulging in any sort of this service, organizations are giving a platform to students where they can compromise on their moral values. The business sense of doing business would suggest that if there is a demand, there should be a supply (Valentine, 2006). However, in case of demand also, the supply of this kind of services does not justify the ethical concerns. It would be interesting to analyze the organizational ethical issues with respect to four levels of business ethics. The four levels of business ethics could be applied in this case as:

The society level: At the societal level, we ask questions about the basic institutions in a society. Is it ethical correct to have a system where students get the assignment help from other individuals or organizations? The societal view would suggest that it is not ethical for students get the assignment help from other individuals or organizations because it can create a bad culture in the society where people are not honest (Engel, 2016).


The industry level or the stakeholder level: At the industry level, we ask questions about how a company should deal with the external groups affected by its decisions, as well as how the stakeholders should deal with the company. Is it ethical correct to have a system where students get the assignment help from other individuals or organizations? The industry level view would suggest that it may not be ethical to get assignment help from other sources. However, the intensity of unethical behavior or moral values is less in the industry level as compared to societal level (Scanlon, 2013). At the stakeholder level, this practice is not ethical because it is doing more harm than good.

The company level or the level of internal policy: At the company level or at the organization level, the ethical issues is discussed with respect to organization mission, business, growth and development. The question to ponder would remain same in this case, is it ethical correct to have a system where students get the assignment help from other individuals or organizations? The analysis at the company level would suggest that this issue may not a grave ethical issue. The main objective or the corporate objective of any business is to make profits. It is correct that the organizations must practice the path of corporate social responsibility. However, CSR cannot be practiced at the expense of profitability and revenue (Nam & Weaver, 2015). However, the sense of doing business would suggest that organizations should conduct business in the area that is not harmful to society at large and it appears that the industry of assignment help is harmful to society.

Ethical Issues of Plagiarism and Document Falsification with Respect to Various Ethical Theories and Models

The individual manager level or at personal level: At the individual level, we ask questions about how people should treat one another within an organization. The question to ponder would be same, is it ethical correct to have a system where students get the assignment help from other individuals or organizations? In this case the answer would be no. It cannot be ethical at the individual level to involve in any sort of assignment help.

As a part of a responsible society, all the stakeholders must remain connected to a single point of view of problem. The single view of the problem is that it is a serious ethical issue to take or to give any sort of assignment help (Robinson, 2014). Therefore, it is important that organizations, individuals, and students must refrain from this.


The question, is it ethical correct to have a system where students get the assignment help from other individuals or organizations, could also be discussed with respect to various ethical theories. The discussion from the perspective of three key ethical theories can be discussed as:

Consequentialism theory of ethics: Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct (Rossi & Sleat, 2014). Here the consequences are not good as students would not be able to learn anything if he or she engages himself or herself in assignment help practices. Therefore, the Consequentialism theory would suggest that it is not ethical correct to have a system where students get the assignment help from other individuals or organizations (Martinez & Wueste, 2016).

Deontology theory of ethics: In moral philosophy, deontological ethics or deontology is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on rules. The university rules would clearly suggest that students must not conduct any sort of cheating practice. Therefore, it would be correct to say that the deontology theory of ethics would advocate that it is not ethical correct to have a system where students get the assignment help from other individuals or organizations. The university rules do not allow or does not expect students to engage in any sort of plagiarism issue. In fact, the professional body, university administration in this case, have strict policies around plagiarism and students can even be failed from course in case of plagiarism.

Organizational Ethical Issues


Virtue ethics: The virtue theory of ethics is slightly different as it is an approach to Ethics that emphasizes an individual's character as the key element of ethical thinking. It can be said that virtue ethics theory would keep it open for interpretation at individual level (Abasi & Akbari, 2006). It can be said that the virtue ethics theory would also suggest that it is not ethical to have a system where students get the assignment help from other individuals or organizations. However, the individuals can take their own decision with respect to this.

The basic model of intent, action and outcome would suggest that the outcome would not be very good if students engage themselves in any sort of cheating practice. The intent of the students could be to save time or save efforts (Larkham & Manns, 2002). The action of the students is to contact the organizations or the individuals that provide assignment help and the outcome of this is that students end up paying for assignments and they do not learn from the course concepts. This basic model suggests that intent and action of students ultimately results in bad outcome (Lau & Yuen, 2013).

Conclusion

The above paper discusses if it is ethical to have a system where students get the assignment help from other individuals or organizations. With the above discussion, it can be said that it is not an ethical practice. The paper discusses the issue from various ethical models and theories. Almost, all the models and theories suggest that the outcome is not good in long term. Therefore, students should not use these practices.

References

Abasi, A. R., Akbari, N., & Graves, B. (2006). Discourse appropriation, construction of identities, and the complex issue of plagiarism: ESL students writing in graduate school. Journal of Second Language Writing, 15(2), 102-117.

Bakhtiyari, K., Salehi, H., Embi, M. A., Shakiba, M., Zavvari, A., Shahbazi-Moghadam, M., ... & Mohammadjafari, M. (2014). Ethical and unethical methods of plagiarism prevention in academic writing.

Drumwright, M. E., & Murphy, P. E. (2014). Ethical Issues of Social Marketing and Persuasion. The Handbook of Persuasion and Social Marketing [3 volumes], 175.

Engel, C. (2016). Ethical Standards of Scientific Research for Beginning Accounting Scholars. Business and Economic Research, 6(1), 129-136.

Fusch, P. I., Ness, L. R., Booker, J. M., & Fusch, G. E. (2017). The Ethical Implications of Plagiarism and Ghostwriting in an Open Society. Journal of Social Change, 9(1), 4.

Larkham, P. J., & Manns, S. (2002). Plagiarism and its treatment in higher education. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 26(4), 339-349.

Martinez, N., & Wueste, D. (2016). Balancing theory and practicality: engaging non-ethicists in ethical decision making related to radiological protection. Journal of Radiological Protection, 36(4), 832.

Nam, K. A., & Weaver, G. (2015). Major ethical issues in the field of intercultural relations: An exploratory study. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 48, 58-74.

Lau, G. K., Yuen, A. H., & Park, J. (2013). Toward an analytical model of ethical decision making in plagiarism. Ethics & Behavior, 23(5), 360-377.

Robinson, S. R. (2014). Self-plagiarism and unfortunate publication: an essay on academic values. Studies in higher education, 39(2), 265-277.

Rossi, E., & Sleat, M. (2014). Realism in normative political theory. Philosophy Compass, 9(10), 689-701.

Scanlon, P. M. (2003). Student online plagiarism: How do we respond?. College Teaching, 51(4), 161-165.

Slade, S., & Prinsloo, P. (2013). Learning analytics: Ethical issues and dilemmas. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(10), 1510-1529.

Valentine, K. (2006). Plagiarism as literacy practice: Recognizing and rethinking ethical binaries. College Composition and Communication, 89-109.

Vehvilainen, S., Lofstrom, E., & Nevgi, A. (2017). Dealing with plagiarism in the academic community: emotional engagement and moral distress. Higher Education, 1-18.

Yadav, S., Rawal, G., & Baxi, M. (2016). Plagiarism-A serious scientific misconduct. Int J Health Sci Res, 6(2), 364-366.

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