The Role of Integrity in Business Education

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Integrity in schools represents the commitment to act ethically with fairness, respect, and honesty while communicating or creating information in educational environments. This applies both to the students and staff. Or, in more simple words, it means to provide original work and use someone else’s work with acknowledgement and honesty.

Each of us has come across the concept of integrity at least once in our lives. However, not everyone completely understands its role in education, especially in business education. There is a lot that can be said about it, and there are even many integrity essays written on this topic. Besides explaining what academic integrity is, many of those essay examples also mention the opposite of it, which is academic misconduct. Academic misconduct represents the act of dishonesty, and it includes the use of another person’s work without acknowledging the source, cheating on exams, or creating fake data.

Misconduct in academic education may include submitting copied paper samples, offering a bribe, falsifying research results, working with someone else but claiming that is your original work, etc. So, to prevent that from happening, educators need to teach students how to show integrity in school.

Why is academic integrity important in business education?

This is a frequently asked question around students. Most importantly, if you have integrity, you will earn the needed qualifications and be prepared for all the opportunities and challenges you will face in the workplace. But it is important for more than one reason, of course.

·             The academic community constantly generates new knowledge, which is done by building on top of the work of others. Academics take published work, deconstruct it, analyze it, and recombine the elements in their own way. And as a member of that community, you also need to acknowledge the person’s work you are building upon.

·             Creativity is also a part of the educational process, but synthesizing is essential for a successful study. Also, it is a useful skill that you can carry into your future career. For example, if you plagiarize an essay, you limit the potential of enriching your knowledge and also deny yourself from the creative part of the learning process.

·             Using essays, papers or any kind of research material done by someone else means accepting it without evaluation or engagement, and that takes the way the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills.

·             If you build an idea on plagiarized content rather than acknowledge and analyze one. You are exposing yourself to the possibility of invalidating your own conclusions.

Those are just some examples of why integrity is important in business education and in education in general, and there are many more reasons why it needs to be achieved in every academic surrounding.

How to Achieve Integrity in Business Education

Academic facilities should develop a healthy attitude towards integrity in education. It is not enough to simply integrate issues of social and ethical responsibility into the curricular activities, but they also need to provide the students with experiences that will cultivate their ability to advocate and act for integrity. There are three districts that every business education facility needs to consider when introducing integrity in their business curriculums.

Academic integrity: most of the time, this is considered negative, and the focus is placed on preventing cheating and using plagiarized content on exams and papers. Although many educators have a more positive approach to teaching students what academic integrity is and its importance. Those approaches include communicating relevant processes and standards about academic integrity, implementing environmental controls in the learning environments, educating the facilities on how to deal with unique challenges of hybrid or online courses, and developing societies committed to integrity.

Professional Integrity: You may wonder what is professional integrity. It is equally critical integrity as the academic one and requires the students to display behaviors that will help them develop a professional and honorable reputation. And for this to be achieved, educators need to provide the students with resources, interact with them effectively, prepare them for interview questions, and form sustaining mentoring relationships.

Applied Learning: this method ensures educators that all students are actively engaged in the chances of practicing leadership skills and ethical behavior. Students are constantly asked to repeatedly solve base or more complicated situations that conflict with their values in applied learning. Educators, to motivate them often can include awards such as a badge, set expectations for the leaders, set competitions, etc.

Those are the general methods used in business schools to support student development, but there is way more that can be used to integrate ethics into their learning programs. For that to happen, business colleges need to work together and find answers to questions such as: “what are the best practices that will make students care about integrity” and “how can we shape behaviors that will demonstrate responsibility.”

Conclusion: As we have already mentioned many times, school integrity has huge importance. It is beneficial for many reasons, such as assurance of the school’s academic reputation, protecting the interests of the students that don’t cheat. And ensuring the employers that the students awarded with degrees have actually met the best standards and the professional requirements of the program they have studied.

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