B-school students cheating: blame it on Enron… or not

clipped from www.opinionjournal.com
Duke University’s business school recently announced that 34 of its first-year M.B.A. students will be expelled, suspended or awarded failing grades for cheating on a take-home examination in a required class.
The incident was the largest ever reported in the history of the business school, currently tied for No. 12 in the nation, according to U.S. News.
Reaction to the scandal has tended to fall into two categories.
One might be called the Enron analysis: Business students, like business leaders in capitalist America, see themselves as living in a dog-eat-dog world where competition is cutthroat and any means of succeeding, no matter how unethical by conventional standards, is justified–if they don’t get caught.
The other reaction might be called “It’s Not Really Cheating.”
“If you found somebody to help you write an exam, in our view that’s a sign of an inventive person who gets stuff done.”

Honor codes, multiple versions of exams and turnitin.com are no “functional substitute” for the one missing ingredient: an internalized sense of honesty.