Virtue, Utility and Improvisation: A Multinational Survey of Academic Staff Solving Integrity Dilemmas

Amigud, Alexander and Pell, David (2021). Virtue, Utility and Improvisation: A Multinational Survey of Academic Staff Solving Integrity Dilemmas. Journal of Academic Ethics (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10805-021-09416-2

Abstract

Academic staff owe a duty of fidelity to uphold institutional standards of integrity. They also have their own values and conceptions of integrity as well as personal responsibilities and commitments. The question of how academic practitioners address or reconcile conflicting values and responsibilities has been underexplored in the literature. Before we can examine effectiveness of academic integrity strategies and develop best practices, we need to examine the breadth of integrity decisions. To this end we posited the academic integrity problem as a set of seven dilemmas and presented them to post-secondary education staff (N = 80) located in Europe, North America, Oceania, and Asia. We asked the participants to recommend a solution to each dilemma. This yielded a modest sample of 498 themes across 30 categories. We expected the responses to fall on a binary scale where decisions either support the integrity or ignore it. However, the data suggests that academic integrity decisions are better suited to continuum where participants aim to reconcile personal and institutional obligations. We further argue that academic integrity decisions are predicated on personal experience and therefore pose a challenge for policy standardization and enforcement.

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