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Corruption, the Lack of Academic Integrity and Other Ethical Issues in Higher Education: What Can Be Done Within the Bologna Process?



Transparency International (TI), an NGO working on corruption worldwide, commonly defines corruption as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.” In higher education, however, corruption also encompasses “the lack of academic integrity.” The second definition applies to both public and private institutions, since what they both offer—education—can be construed as a public good. Corruption might be perceived or it might not; in higher education, however, this differentiation is less relevant. Along with the kinds of monetary and non-monetary corruption that can be found anywhere in society, such as corruption in procurement and favouritism in hiring and/or promoting employees, corruption in higher education can implicate the students themselves, thus exerting an influence over the next generation.
Corruption, the Lack of Academic
Integrity and Other Ethical Issues
in Higher Education: What Can Be
Done Within the Bologna Process?
Elena Denisova-Schmidt
Transparency International (TI), an NGO working on corruption worldwide,
commonly denes corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.In
higher education, however, corruption also encompasses the lack of academic
integrity.The second denition applies to both public and private institutions,
since what they both offereducationcan be construed as a public good.
Corruption might be perceived or it might not; in higher education, however, this
differentiation is less relevant (Heyneman 2013). Along with the kinds of monetary
and non-monetary corruption that can be found anywhere in society, such as cor-
ruption in procurement and favouritism in hiring and/or promoting employees,
corruption in higher education can implicate the students themselves, thus exerting
an inuence over the next generation (Denisova-Schmidt 2016a,b,c,2017a,b,c,
2018a,b; Denisova-Schmidt and de Wit 2017).
While corruption in higher education is not a new phenomenon, its unprece-
dented dimensions, the growing challenge of mitigating and preventing it in many
academic systems as well as its international aspect are rather new. Can corruption
be exported and/or imported with the rise of mobility among students and faculty
and the internationalisation of educational institutions? Are universities prepared to
deal with actors from endemically corrupt societies? What tools and best practices
E. Denisova-Schmidt (&)
University of St. Gallen (HSG), St. Gallen, Switzerland
E. Denisova-Schmidt
Boston College, Boston, USA
©The Author(s) 2018
A. Curaj et al. (eds.), European Higher Education Area: The Impact of Past
and Future Policies,
are particularly effective in increasing academic integrity? Or is it an irreversible
process? How can the latest research contribute to the policy debate within the
Bologna process?
The paper is structured as follows: rst, I discuss the current trends in the general
research on corruption and its implications for higher education within the Bologna
context, then I give an overview of some successful tools for mitigating academic
dishonesty and discuss the challenges of their implementation.
Corruption Research as a Field of Study
What is corruption,really? Scholars and practitioners often work with denitions
developed by international organisations such as the World Bank, United Nations
(UN) and its sub-structures, as well as Transparency International (TI):
[Corruption is] the abuse of public ofce for private gain(World Bank
[Corruption is] the misuse of public power, ofce or authority for private benet through
bribery, extortion, inuence peddling, nepotism, fraud, speed money or embezzlement
Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain(Transparency International
In spite of some slight differences in wording, the idea is approximately the
same: something that was previously publicbecomes private, often in an
improper way. How does this relate to higher education? While some might argue
that these denitions apply to public universities only and do not cover private ones,
these denitions, in fact, relate to both public and private institutions since what
they both offereducationis a public good. More concretely: Imagine a student
writing a term paper. He or she plagiarizes, which is to say, he or she copies and
pastes text from other sources without acknowledging them. The student submits
this paper and receives a grade for it. This is fraudone form of corruption. Taking
it a step further, lets say that the faculty member who is responsible for grading this
paper chooses to ignore the plagiarism. In this case, the faculty member is misusing
an entrusted power for private gain, in the broader sense (Denisova-Schmidt
2017a). Faculty members do not necessarily have to be bribed to do it; their reasons
might vary, from being overloaded with other duties to the lack of time to inves-
tigate. Some scholars often do not dare to call it corruptionand mitigate this small
sinby referring to it as student dishonesty,academic dishonesty,cheating,
or just simply plagiarism(s. e.g. Curtis et al. 2013; Golunov 2014; Curtis and
62 E. Denisova-Schmidt
Vardanega 2016; Chapman and Linder 2016; Denisova-Schmidt 2016a;
Denisova-Schmidt et al. 2016a). The challenges of dening corruptionmight also
be explained by the fact that corruption is a crime. Some scholars might consider
only those activities to be corrupt that have been proven as such by a judge;
otherwise, they might refer to the presumption of innocence. Depending on the
national context, even an obvious bribe cannot be easily judged to be a bribe, as an
advantage caused by this bribe still has to be proven, among other things.
Table 1 Selected examples of corruption in higher education
The offering, promising, giving, accepting, or soliciting of an advantage as
an inducement for an action that is illegal, unethical, or a breach of trust.
Inducements can take the form of gifts, loans, fees, rewards, or other
advantages (taxes, services, donations, etc.)
Examples A student bribes a professor to change a grade in his/her favour; a faculty
member bribes a ghostwriter for his/her own publication; university
administration demands bribes from service suppliers
A secret agreement between parties, in the public and/or private sector, to
conspire to commit actions aimed to deceive or commit fraud with the
objective of illicit nancial gain. The parties involved often are referred to as
Examples Faculty members ignore or pretend to ignore studentsacademic
Faculty members are involved in citationcartels: citing each others
works/journals without necessity;
Administration chooses the winner in an open tender, based on a prior
Conict of interest
A situation where an individual, or the entity for which this person works,
whether a government, business, media outlet, or civil society organisation,
is confronted with choosing between the duties and demands of their
position and their own private interests
Examples A high-ranking ofcial responsible for accreditation is placed in charge of a
university, for which he and/or she recently worked;
A professor grades his/her nephew/niece or supervises a thesis written by
his/her ancé;
A university manager responsible for catering buys food from his/her
relatives only
Patronage: a form of favouritism in which a person is selected, regardless of
qualications or entitlement, for a job or government benet because of
political afliations or connections
Nepotism: a form of favouritism based on acquaintances and familiar
relationships whereby someone in an ofcial position exploits his or her
power and authority to provide a job or favour to a family member or friend,
even though he or she may not be qualied or deserving
Corruption, the Lack of Academic Integrity and Other 63
Corruption is typically used as a generic term for a wide range of actions, including
favouritism, nepotism, advantage granting, cronyism, and many other activities.
Table 1illustrates some other types of corruption as well as some examples from
the higher education sector. All these types might be judged differently depending
on the perspective (insiders or outsiders) and the national/cultural context.
Corruption in Bologna Countries
Virtually all forms of corruption are prevalent in the Bologna countries. According
to a 2015 survey conducted in Ukraine, for example, every second student reported
an experience with bribery at university (Denisova-Schmidt and Prytula 2017).
According to Guardian Data, the number of cheating incidents involving technol-
ogy (mobile phones, smart watches, etc.) at UK universities increased by 42%
between 2012 and 2016. In 2016 alone, 25% of students caught cheating used
various electronic devices (Marsh 2017). Cheating and plagiarism might happen
Table 1 (continued)
Examples A student is admitted, or a faculty member is hired/promoted, based only on
his/her personal connections and/or family relations; academic achievement
and other relevant competencies are not considered
To cheat: the act of intentionally deceiving someone in order to gain an
unfair or illegal advantage (nancial, political, or otherwise)
Examples A student cheats on his/her written assignment, or a faculty member
plagiarizes in his/her paper;
A staff member falsies an admission application;
A signicant amount of a research grant goes to other purposes than what is
indicated in the research proposal;
Universities expect a contribution from students receiving nancial support
Any activity carried out to inuence a government or institutions policies
and decisions in favour of a specic cause or outcome
Examples Some industries support research projects expecting positive and/or
promising outcomes for their products/services
Revolving doors
An individual who moves back and forth between public ofce and private
companies, exploiting his/her period of government service for the benetof
the companies he/she used to regulate
Examples An inuential government ofcial opts for employment as a university rector
Source Updated and expanded version from Denisova-Schmidt 2017a
The Anti-Corruption Plain Language Guide. TI. 2009.
64 E. Denisova-Schmidt
among scholars, too. The Austrian Agency for Research Integrity reported about
several recent cases, including double submission of the same proposal or
authorship conict. The latter case was a conict between a PhD student and her
supervisor, which made it impossible for her to defend her dissertation in Austria
(Research Integrity Practices in Science Europe Member Organisations2016). In
2016, the Ministers of Education of Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,
Russia, and Ukraine were all implicated in conicts of interest. In addition, some or
all the deputy Ministers of Education in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Moldova,
Serbia, and Ukraine, as well as some members of the cabinets in Armenia and
Kazakhstan, have also been accused of having conicts of interest. These ranged
from an active for-protafliation to an expectation of going through the re-
volving doorinto a salaried or shareholder position at a university after leaving the
public sector. For-protafliations with universities were also common among
lower-level heads of departments for higher education in Armenia, Azerbaijan,
Moldova, Russia, and Serbia, as well as among education-focused legislators in
Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia, and Ukraine
(Milovanovitch et al. 2018). Milovanovitch et al. (2015) claims that the hiring of
faculty members and staff in Armenia is often based on personal relationship rather
than on merit; in addition, dismissals of academic staff might occur due to their
activism in ghting for their rights or their membership in the political opposition.
Dissernet, a community of Russian activities ghting plagiarism in academic
writing, including dissertations, created a ranking of university rectors with ques-
tionable academic backgrounds who sought to exploit monetary interests in their
positions by employing friends and relatives as employees and/or subcontractors.
Some social groupswomen, for examplestill face several career disadvantages
in academia. While there is an increasing trend toward gender balance at the
bachelor, master and Ph.D. levels in many countries, the number of female
researchers holding top-level positions remains signicantly low, for example, in
2013 in Cyprus (10.8%), the Czech Republic (13.1%), Lithuania (14.4%), Belgium
(15.6%), the Netherlands (16.2%), Luxemburg (16.5%), Estonia (17.2%), Germany
(17.3%), the United Kingdom (17.5%), Denmark (19.2%), Switzerland (19.3%),
France (19.3%) and Greece (19.6%) (She Figures 2015). The reasons for this might
vary from traditional gender roles in the respective societies to a lack of knowledge
of how to develop an academic career more strategically toin some casessexual
harassment, including the refusal to provide favours in exchange for career
Rectory: prizvanie i biznes.
It should be mentioned that this topic still remains taboo. The MeToocampaign might
encourage some victims not to feel alone in their situations and even to act. Recent cases discussed
in the media include the court decision against Siegfried Mauser, ex-rector of the Mozarteum
University Salzburg and ex-president of the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich,
who was found guilty of sexual harassment and rape (Rost 2016; Wimmer 2017).
Corruption, the Lack of Academic Integrity and Other 65
The geography of the violence of academic integrity is wide; the scope and the
techniques might vary, as might the courage of all involved actors to talk about it
openly. Some scholars argue that the current situation in many countries leads to
academic collusion(Titaev 2012), or situations in which almost all of the
stakeholders involved in academia might occasionally pretend to teach, carry out
research, or study due to high pressure. The following example demonstrates the
challenges of this phenomenon.
Favouritism Versus Strong Social Ties
The situation in which a (new) faculty member is hired and/or promoted based on
his/her personal connections and/or family relationships and not on his/her aca-
demic achievement or other relevant competencies is called favouritism”—or
corruption, according to TI. Should any personal and/or family relationships be
banned per se in university employment decisions? I am familiar with a case that
happened at one Russell-Group University in the United Kingdom, where a new
faculty member was indeed not hired because his brother had already been working
for the same institution. In Germany, on the other hand, according to Kehm, it is
almost impossible to get a university professorship without personal networks. This
informal “… support is never made public and never openly discussed but will be
able to topple ranking lists of candidates established by search commissions
(Kehm 2015, p. 130). The competition is very high: for every ve successfully
completed habilitations,
there is only one vacant post (Müller 2017). Stipulating
the fact that the lack of a formal habilitation might be compensated by a habili-
tation equivalency, the situation is even more drastic. More inuential people in
academia tend to help (young) colleagues for many reasons: one of them might
belong to the same research school and/or share similar research ideas and a
willingness to continue the work on a particular research topic. But even powerful
networks cannot always guarantee a job. A search commission might favour an
average candidate over an excellent one in order not to be swayed by the fame of
this great researcher when he or she becomes a colleague, or they might decide on a
candidate with less informal support in order to spite the personal networks of other
competitors (Denisova-Schmidt 2017c). Nevertheless, it is important to have a
network and sometimes even belong to the correctpolitical party or church. In
2007, for example, Alfred Scharenberg claimed that he was not appointed as a
professor of political science at the Free University of Berlin due to his activity in
The habilitation is a formal requirement (but not a guarantee) for a full-professorship position at
German universities. The search committee might consider candidates who are habilitation
equivalent, however. In some elds such as engineering or economics, a habilitation is not
required anymore (cf. Kehm 2015).
66 E. Denisova-Schmidt
the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (cf. e.g. FU Berlin 2007; Kirchgessner 2007;
Wittrock 2007).
Moreover, Ulla Wessels sued the University of Erlangen-
Nuremberg in 2012 for not hiring her as professor of philosophy because she was
not Catholic (cf. e.g. Scherf 2012; Auer 2015). While this seems to be an open
secret in Germany, the importance of social ties and loyalty in academic life is often
stressed explicitly in other countries, as, for example, in Russia (cf. Yudkevich
2015) or the practice of cooptation in France.
Anti-corruption Research and Anti-corruption Measures
A great deal of contemporary research into corruption assumes that corruption can
be dened and quantied clearly, thus allowing it to be combatted successfully (for
a contrasting view, see Ledeneva 2009,2013; Barsukova and Ledeneva 2014;
Denisova-Schmidt et al. 2016b; Ledeneva et al. 2017; Denisova-Schmidt and
Kryzhko 2018). In such theoretical approaches as the principal-agent (Klitgaard
1988) and rent-seeking models (see Graeff and Grieger 2012), corruption is often
dened by researchers as a deviation from the normthat can to be eradicated.
There are, however, other approaches that examine corruption in its own indigenous
context, where it might be considered as a norm. These approaches are particu-
larly useful in endemically corrupt countries (see, for example, Mungiu-Pippidi
2011; Rothstein 2011), where the ght against corruption is often more difcult
since it is deemed to be a collective action (Marquette and Pfeiffer 2015). When
people believe that corruption is already widespread, it can even lead to more
corruption (John et al. 2014; Corbacho et al. 2016). In Ukraine, a country with a
high rate of corruption, two recent experiments have shown that anti-corruption
campaigns can actually have the opposite effect: rather than reducing corruption,
such campaigns might, in fact, promote it. Examining the effectiveness of
anti-corruption measures at state universities in Lviv, Ukraine, a pair of recent
studies (Denisova-Schmidt et al. 2015; Denisova-Schmidt et al. 2016a) indicated
that young people with previous experience with corruption at university level were
not inuenced by anti-corruption campaigns based on TI materials, though these
students still often judged corruption in negative terms (corruption is bador
corruption is a crime). For those students who had not encountered corruption at
university, however, the studies showed that anti-corruption programs can have the
opposite effect: students are able to learn new cheating techniques, and their
assumptions about the widespread nature of corruption are conrmed. Marquette
and Pfeiffer (2015) argue that anti-corruption measures often fail not because the
theories they are based on (i.e., the principal-agent or collective action models) are
inadequate (Persson et al. 2013; Mungiu-Pippidi 2011), but rather because such
The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation is a German organisation afliated with the political party The
Corruption, the Lack of Academic Integrity and Other 67
measures do not allow for the fact that corruption can be a necessary instrument that
helps people deal with the problems of everyday life, particularly in an environment
of weak institutions. Therefore, those who make policies need to recognize the
important role corruption plays and develop equally effective alternatives to replace
it. This consideration would boost the efcacy of anti-corruption measures signif-
icantly (Denisova-Schmidt and Prytula 2016; Ledeneva et al. 2017).
Remedying Corruption Within the Bologna Process
In order to combat this corruption, the faculty should present their assignments and
expectations more clearly to the students, stipulating their educational and cultural
backgrounds. In some cultures, for example, students might have a different concept
of the term plagiarism: some material might be widely considered to be common
knowledge and, therefore, does not need to be cited properly. While editing three
with young Russian authors (undergraduate and graduate students), my
colleague and I observed that some of them simply copied and pasted without
acknowledging any sources, especially when describing the state of research. One
student even argued, this is only theory. Only after some discussions with those
students did we realize the problem: Russian students need to be taught such basic
concepts as a precise denition of plagiarism in their academic writing courses. One
of the useful arguments here might be mentioning several recent examples of
high-prole politicians accused of plagiarism during their university years and the
consequences on their professional future.
Additional courses on academic integrity
might increase studentsawareness signicantly (Curtis et al. 2013). Faculty
members should serve as role models, however. If they also cheat, they might not be
able to demand the opposite behaviour from their students. A large number of
(external) proctors for supervising examinations might be an effective remedy, as
well as the use of randomized seating and several versions of the same examination
(if possible) to prevent copying from a neighbour (Denisova-Schmidt 2017a).
Denisova-Schmidt, E. and Leontyeva, E. (2012a), Korrupciia v povsednevnoi zhizni, biznese i
kulture. Vzgliad rossiiskikh studentov (Corruption in Everyday Life, Business and Culture.
A Russian Student Perspective), Europäischer Hochschulverlag, Bremen; Denisova-Schmidt, E.
and Leontyeva, E. (2013a), Korrupciia v Rossii: aktualnye tendencii i perspektivy. Vzgliad
rossiiskich studentov (Corruption in Russia: Current Trends and Outlooks. A Russian Student
Perspective), Europäischer Hochschulverlag, Bremen; Denisova-Schmidt, E. and Leontyeva, E.
(2013c), Siuzhety o korrupcii v rossiiskich lmach i serialach: Vzgliad rossiiskich studentov (The
Representation of Corruption in Russian Movies and Sitcoms: A Russian Student Perspective),
Europäischer Hochschulverlag, Bremen.
Just to name a few examples: German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg in 2011,
Hungarian President Pal Schmitt in 2012, German Education Minister Annette Schavan in 2013
and Romanian Minister President Victor Ponta in 2016.
68 E. Denisova-Schmidt
In addition to training and raising awareness, creating appropriate policies and
procedures on academic integrity might be another very important step for orienting
all of the involved stakeholders: students on what is right and what is wrong, as
well as faculty members and university administration on what to do in detected
cases of academic dishonesty. The University of St. Gallen (Switzerland), for
example, denes in its regulations academic dishonesty as follows: falsifying a
candidates own or another candidates examination paper, using or making
available inadmissible aids or information, failing to comply with general or
specic instructions for the conduct of the examination or arrogating other peoples
intellectual property (plagiarism)(Examination Regulations 2014). Even attemp-
ted dishonesty might be punished. The punishment might include a reduced grade
or grading with the lowest possible mark 1.0 (inadequate) or some other sanctions
including removal from the university. Sanctions for misconduct and malpractice
might be an effective remedy among scholars, as well. The survey report Research
Integrity Practices in Science Europe Member Organisations(2016), for example,
recommended that sanctions be applied for individuals as well as for institutions.
Depending on the national context, sanctions against individuals might be covered
by (a) employment law, ranging from a written letter of reprimand to dismissal; by
(b) civil law, such as nancial penalties for copyright infringement or repayments of
received funds; and/or by (c) academic policies or professional standards, whereby
the tools might include withdrawal of a degree, academic title, or licence, as well as
exclusion from membership in an academic society, team, or pool of future grant
applicants. Sanctions against institutions are also possible, though uncommon,
because usually it is an individual who has transgressed, not the institution. These
sanctions might include repayment of a research grant or a ban on further funding
(often for a limited period of time). These issues might be outsourced or they might
be regulated by a third agency, as in Austria, for example, with the Austrian Agency
for Research Integrity (OeAWI).
Many national governments have implemented programs to promote women in
academia, from mentoring to fellowships and vacancies for female researchers only.
The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), for example, has offered the Marie
Program (20012016) for female doctoral students and postdocs
in Switzerland who had to interrupt or reduce their research activities due to family
Since 2017, the SNSF has continued its support for female
scholars through the new PRIMA (Promoting Women in Academia) program for
Marie Heim-Vögtlin (18451916) was the rst female Swiss physician.
Corruption, the Lack of Academic Integrity and Other 69
excellent female researchers from Switzerland and abroad who aspire to a pro-
fessorship in Switzerland.
Two additional programs for female researchers are
named after Lise Meitner (18781968), an Austrian-Swedish physicist; these are
administered independently by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)
and the German
Max Planck Society,
both with the goal of addressing gender inequality in aca-
demia. Several universities have established career paths for women only; in the
Netherlands, these include, for example, the University of Groningen, offering
Rosalind Franklin Fellowships, or the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft),
providing highly qualied women with the Delft Technology Fellowship.
It is crucial to acknowledge this problem and not to treat it as the elephant in the
room. General research on corruption suggests not ghting corruption in general but
rather focusing on specic malpractices (cf. Shekshnia et al. 2017). The German
Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), for example, established the Akademische
Prüfstelle (APS) in 2001 in Beijing to prevent Chinese applicants from coming to
German universities with fake diplomas. The agency is responsible for validating
certicates awarded in China and assessing young people in appropriate discipline.
Now German, Austrian, Swiss, and Belgian universities require this document for
Chinese applicants. The UK battle against plagiarism might consider this as another
ongoing successful example. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
(QAA) recently published a report on the growing threat to UK higher education from
custom essay writing servicesor essay mills. The agency develops concrete actions
to be taken against companies providing such services. Inspired by the experience of
New Zealand, which has ned and even frozen the assets of essay mills, QAA suggests
the introduction of the same procedure. Milovanovich et al. (2015) in their study on
academic integrity in Armenia suggest rst to look at a single case of suspected
integrity violation, then describe and determine the factors that create incentives for the
integrity violation and, based on this analysis, develop pointers for action. The
researchers name two main reasons for the widespread cheating among Armenian
students: the lack of intrinsic motivation to studyand overloaded and/or outdated
study contentand argue that, by addressing these two issues, cheating might decrease.
Some measures might be easily implemented, so why have not all universities
within the Bologna process done it? Why do not all universities clear procedures
and policies on the ethical behaviour? Why do not all universities use
anti-plagiarism software programs and take legal actions against companies pro-
viding questionable services? Some of the measures might be costly. Take for
example the use of anti-plagiarism software in Ukraine: a company offering such
For more about the Lise Meitner Programme, see
For more about The Lise-Meitner excellence programme, see
70 E. Denisova-Schmidt
services currently charges 1 hryvnia per page
; therefore, many universities can
only afford to check bachelor/master/Ph.D. theses (if at all) and not term papers.
Some measures mean more additional resources and/or obligations for already
overworked faculty members and university administrations. Some measures might
not be implemented yet due to weak management, while other measures might be
not implemented concisely. Corruption seems to be a very effective tool to respond
to massication, falling or insecure nancial support, and growing competition
among institutions on the national and international levels, as well as to the
increasing demands on university researchers and instructors. Tackling these issues
might be a good and effective strategy for tackling corruption.
The negative consequences of corruption in higher education are particularly
severe: in their last formative years, students consciously and/or unconsciously
learn that corruption is widespread and even normal”—behaviour that these young
people might transfer to their future professional lives (Heyneman 2013;
Denisova-Schmidt 2013,2016a,b,c). No one should ever wonder if graduates in
medicine would become involved in promoting drugs without evidence, if man-
agers would cheat and steal, or if lawyers and bankers would develop new schemes
for tax evasion and fraud. Universities should incorporate ethical issues into their
curricula and certainly act ethically and transparently themselves, as was suggested
in the Poznan Declaration—“a formal statement aimed at mainstreaming ethics and
anti-corruption in higher educationendorsed by 68 member universities of
Compostela Group of Universities, the World University Consortium, the World
Academy of Art and Science and TI. The decision-makers within the Bologna
process should support and encourage exchanges on this topic among all involved
stakeholders on practical issues, as well as more reection and research on blind
spots and borders between legal and illegal, good and bad, acceptable and unac-
ceptable practices.
What can educators and decision-makers within the Bologna process learn from
general corruption research? First of all, many anti-corruption reforms failed not
because they were based on inefcient theories, or because the involved stake-
holders lacked the courage to implement the new reforms, but because the
decision-makers did not consider the functions that corruption might serve, espe-
cially in weak institutional environments. In higher education, corruption might
often be considered an effective tool to address the challenges of massication,
internationalisation and shrinking nancing. Hence the latter issues should be
considered when developing anti-corruption strategies and measures within the
higher education sector. Secondly, such measures should not attempt to address
The current average monthly salary in Ukraine is 750 hryvnias (about 275 USD).
Corruption, the Lack of Academic Integrity and Other 71
corruption in general, but rather focus on specic practices, such as the recent
initiatives of the UK government to hinder the operations of essay mills within the
country or the oldpractice developed by the German Akademische Prüfstelle
(APS) of checking the creditability of Chinese students applying to study in the
German-speaking countries. Such remedies might have a controlling function, as in
the case of anti-plagiarism software programs, or a preventing function, as in
training on academic integrity. Last, but not least, it is crucial to start addressing this
phenomenon using all the available resources within the Bologna process, to admit
its existence and scope and to work together to mitigate it.
Auer, K. (2015). Verfassungsklage abgewiesen: Süddeutsche Zeitung, 3 November 2015. Retrieved
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education. Higher Education, 41(2), 247268.
Corbacho, A., Gingerich, D. W., Oliveros, V., & Ruiz-Vega, M. (2016). Corruption as a
self-fullling prophecy: Evidence from a survey experiment in Costa Rica. American Journal
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Corruption, the Lack of Academic Integrity and Other 75
... Bribery in academia can have dramatic effects for social cohesion, undermining the fundamental principle of equity, and the general public's trust in institutions (Denisova-Schmidt, 2018;von Arnim, 2003). Although bribery is often described as a victimless crime, von Arnim (2003) points out that this is in fact untrue: Even though bribery might not create one specific victim-in contrast to other crimes such as robbery or murder-bribery is a crime that will always indirectly harm the welfare of a substantial number of people. ...
... In the long term, bribing for university access or passing exams-for instance-also has substantially negative effect on societal welfare by undermining procedural equity, access equality, and performance quality (Heyneman, 2014;Osipian, 2007) to a degree that bribery in HE even impedes economic growth by relatively slowing down the process of accumulating human capital in those (honest) students left behind because they do not bribe, hence diminishing societal progress, social mobility, innovation, and inhibiting citizen equality (Heyneman, 2014;Osipian, 2007). In sum, HE bribery is a particularly dramatic issue with long-term and high-stake leverage effects (Denisova-Schmidt, 2018;von Arnim, 2003). ...
... The result that CPI is only marginally related with the likelihood of engaging in bribery emphasizes the weakness of merely reinforcing ethical appeals to prevent bribery and it illustrates the limitation of such appeals. This is a particularly important result for practice because it indicates that cases of bribery in student-lecturer consultation can hardly be prevented by moral appeals alone but that they should rather be addressed by making adaptations in procedural and organizational structures, resonating with recommendations by Denisova-Schmidt (2018). In practice, this can be achieved in a number of ways but we particularly recommend implementing a threefold strategy: First, developing and actively promoting explicit and transparent codes of conduct to enhance both students' and lecturers' awareness of the danger and different shades of HE. ...
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Bribery is a complex and critical issue in higher education (HE), causing severe economic and societal harm. Traditionally, most scholarship on HE corruption has focused on institutional factors in developing countries and insights into the psychological and motivational factors that drive HE bribery on the micro-level mechanisms are virtually non-existent. To close this research gap, this study investigates the connection between study-related burnout and university students’ willingness to offer bribes to their lecturers to pass important exams. Conducting a vignette-based quasi-experimental replication study with 624 university students in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands we find that university students in three countries differentiate sharply between different shades of bribery and that a majority accept using emotional influence tactics to pass (failed) exams. In contrast, offering a helping hand or money (i.e., darker shades of bribery) to their lecturer was less acceptable. Study-related burnout is associated with a higher likelihood of engaging in these darker shades of bribery and students’ commitment to the public interest is but a weak factor in preventing unethical behavior. In summary, this study provides solid empirical evidence that university students are likely to use emotional influence tactics violating both the ethical codes of conduct and the formalized bureaucratic procedures of HE examination, particularly if they suffer from study-related burnout. However, the accelerating effect of burnout on bribery is conditional in that it only holds for darker shades of bribery. HE institutions may benefit from implementing the four-eye principle and from launching awareness campaigns that enable lecturers to better recognize these tactics and engage students in creating a transparent environment for testing, grading, and collaboration that is resistant to bribery.
... This is in stark contrast to another area concerning potential student misconduct, that of academic integrity, where significant research and extensive resources have been invested to address the problem of academic integrity in educational institutions. Even with mandatory educational modules at many institutions, problems persist globally in academic integrity (Denisova-Schmidt, 2018). In reviewing the efficacy of the multitude of interventions and training programs in academic integrity, Sefcik et al. (2019) note a lack of focus on values and consequences of misconduct. ...
Purpose To protect information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and resources against poor cyber hygiene behaviours, organisations commonly require internal users to confirm they will abide by an ICT Code of Conduct. Before commencing enrolment, university students sign ICT policies, however, individuals can ignore or act contrary to these policies. This study aims to evaluate whether students can apply ICT Codes of Conduct and explores viable approaches for ensuring that students understand how to act ethically and in accordance with such codes. Design/methodology/approach The authors designed a between-subjects experiment involving 260 students’ responses to five scenario-pairs that involve breach/non-breach of a university’s ICT policy following a priming intervention to heighten awareness of ICT policy or relevant ethical principles, with a control group receiving no priming. Findings This study found a significant difference in students’ responses to the breach versus non-breach cases, indicating their ability to apply the ICT Code of Conduct. Qualitative comments revealed the priming materials influenced their reasoning. Research limitations/implications The authors’ priming interventions were inadequate for improving breach recognition compared to the control group. More nuanced and targeted priming interventions are suggested for future studies. Practical implications Appropriate application of ICT Code of Conduct can be measured by collecting student/employee responses to breach/non-breach scenario pairs based on the Code and embedded with ethical principles. Social implications Shared awareness and protection of ICT resources. Originality/value Compliance with ICT Codes of Conduct by students is under-investigated. This study shows that code-based scenarios can measure understanding and suggest that targeted priming might offer a non-resource intensive training approach.
... Today, internationalization in HE is based on a neoliberal perspective (Wadhwa & Jha, 2014) that emphasizes globalization and the role of technological innovation (Heywood, 2013, p. 132). However, critiques of neoliberal tendencies are commonly found within the broader discourse in the literature, where the emphasis has especially been on studies of North-South inequalities (Pineda et al., 2020), the predominance of the English language (Wihlborg, 2019), and certain unethical practices (Denisova-Schmidt, 2018). ...
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This paper provides an intercultural analysis of faculty internationalization experiences in selected universities in the United States (U.S.) and Turkey. We used the phenomenological research method to understand the conceptual framework for internationalization and analyzed the similarities and differences between higher education institutions in the two countries. The findings shall be beneficial for both country’s university stakeholders who are interested in gaining a better understanding of the internationalization in their respective institutions as well as the goals and outcomes of strategies currently being employed. This paper contributes an intercultural perspective to the body of literature on internationalization.
... La deshonestidad académica es un desafío para las universidades de los países desarrollados y de los que se encuentran en vías de desarrollo y se presenta tanto en las instituciones de masas como en las de élite (Denisova-Schmidt, 2018). El plagio es una de las conductas deshonestas más usuales entre la comunidad estudiantil universitaria. ...
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Esta investigación documental busca contribuir al estudio del plagio estudiantil mediante el análisis de la normatividad de 33 universidades públicas mexicanas. El propósito es reconocer tanto las fortalezas como los desafíos de los marcos legales institucionales e identificar cómo promueven la integridad académica y enfrentan conductas deshonestas como el plagio. El análisis se organiza en tres categorías. La primera es axiológica y analiza los valores expresados en las leyes orgánicas y códigos de ética. La segunda es operativa y examina reglamentos escolares, de titulación y de posgrado. La tercera identifica las nociones de plagio y los recursos institucionales para prevenirlo e identificarlo. Se presentan los alcances y limitaciones de las normatividades y se observa que las universidades declaran valores idóneos para promover la integridad académica entre sus estudiantes. Dichos principios están desarticulados de la reglamentación específica que dirige sus actividades cotidianas pues la regulación en torno al respeto a la propiedad intelectual es escasa y ambigua. Se observa que las iniciativas legales acertadas para empezar a combatir el plagio son insuficientes para considerarlas como la única estrategia institucional que permitirá enfrentar este desafío, por el contrario, son el fundamento para diseñar acciones y destinar recursos diversos que permitan erradicarlo.
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A shadow professoriate influences an increasing amount of development economics activity. Badly conceived hiring, pay, and promotion rules, as well as the money-seeking politics institutionalizing these rules, allow self-interested development economists to use its services and join its ranks. My essay uses tools from institutional economics to understand corruption and from the institutional corruption literature to assess the impacts of this shadow professorate on the economic development discipline. The literature points to a 7-part test useful for identifying such corrupt research. Easily over 30,000 pseudepigraphical ghostwriters, predatory journal editors and unqualified development workers each year pen articles which academics and development workers can rely on less and less-distorting the development economics discipline. They create new markets for paper mills in developing countries generating over $1 billion in wages each year, and oil career ladders for over 15,000 academics, government officials and development workers. They also divert at least $16 billion resources from formal academic and development institutions and agents resulting in damages easily exceeding $200 billion and probably more.
With the development of science digitalization, it became possible to detect dishonest behavior. The increasing magnitude of predatory publishing has boosted scientific research on the topic. While studies on university leaders' impact concentrate mainly on its positive effects on organizational performance, to date, little is known about whether academic leaders can negatively influence the organizations they lead depending on their engagement in academic misconduct. Using a sample of Russian universities and their leaders from 2010-2020, I ask whether universities tend to adopt leaders' dishonest behavior. Specifically, I analyzed whether universities increase publications in potentially predatory journals after a leader with such a record enters the office. Relying on a culture theory of academic misconduct, I discuss the role-related factors that contribute to a leader's influence over employees. I focus on whether the leader's influence relates to external incentives for universities to publish more, the leader's career development type, or the leader's and university's research area. The findings demonstrate that the share of publications in potentially predatory journals tends to increase if a leader with such publications assumes office, especially if the university is research-oriented. The results suggest that academic reputation of a leader matters to the university's consequent misconduct.
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This open access book is a collection of short essays, accessible through open access, takes the interested reader on a tour across the global higher education landscape and addresses pertinent themes and challenges in higher education. To mark the 70th anniversary of the International Association of Universities (IAU) and its role in higher education since 1950, experts from around the world share their insights into higher education’s recent past, present and future. The book is divided into six parts: Part I – “70 years of Higher Education Cooperation and Advocacy” looks back at key events in IAU’s history, its mission and significant activities over time, and remarks on the current global context informing its quest to promote academic partnerships and solidarity on a global scale. Part II – “Facilitating International Cooperation” provides for different perspectives on the transformation of the internationalisation of higher education and the contribution of higher education to international cooperation. Part III – “Coding the Values” debates the values upon which higher education was, is and will have to be built to provide for a democratic and inclusive society. Part IV – “The Changing Landscape” analyses various aspects of the transformation of higher education in an evolving context across the globe. Part V – “The Promise of Education” reflects on the role of higher education, its ideals and shortfalls and what it must do to stay true to its promise to help shape our societies. Part VI – “Opening up – The Future of Higher Education” focuses on future scenarios of higher education and call on the reader to envision a different kind of higher education and reimagine the contribution of higher education to society, as well as future roles for the IAU. The book will be of interest to higher education policy makers and academics. It is also of interest to the general public, as it provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges higher education institutions currently face and suggests scenarios for the future of education.
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The lack of academic integrity, fraud, and other forms of unethical behaviour are problems that higher education faces in both developing and developed countries, at mass and elite universities, and public and private institutions. While academic misconduct is not new, massification, internationalization, privatization, digitalization, and commercialization have placed ethics higher on the agenda for many universities (Denisova-Schmidt and De Wit 2017; Denisova-Schmidt 2018, 2019; Bretag 2020).
Familiarity with the strategies of Academic Corruption (AC) strengthens meritocracy values, increases participation, and education quality calls for the proper use of policies and cultural values by the higher education system. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of lean culture (LC) on reducing AC with the mediation of positive organizational politics (POP). Statistical population of this research included faculty members of University of Sistan and Baluchestan, Iran. The method of this study was correlational, and it was conducted on faculty members of University of Sistan and Baluchestan with a sample of 185 people based on stratified random sampling method. The research tools included three questionnaires of lean culture questionnaire adapted from Maciąg model (Maciąg, 2019b), positive organizational policy questionnaire adapted from Kacmar and Carlson (1997); Nye and Witt (1993), & Sen et al. (2018) models and the researcher-made questionnaire of reduction of academic corruption adapted from Tierney and Sabharwal (2017) model. According to the findings, confirmatory validity, composite reliability, and Cranbach's alpha were reported to be appropriate in all the three tools. The analysis method was using Partial Least Squares (SmartPLS). The results showed that LC directly and indirectly was effective in reducing AC through POP. Moreover, LC had a direct effect on POP and POP had a direct effect on AC reduction. It could be stated that lean values besides positive organizational policy could play a constructive role in reducing AC; and reducing AC is somehow connected to cultural and political factors of higher education.
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Lobbying public officials is common practice, but becomes problematic when officials have a financial interest in the sector that lobbies them and for which they are responsible. This article explores such cases, with a particular focus on Eastern Europe.
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Corruption in higher education is not a new phenomenon. However, massification, internationalization, privatization and commercialization are requiring universities to focus on issues of ethics as never before. This fifth issue in the CIHE Perspectives report series is devoted to the growing challenges of academic integrity in the global context. Using recent examples, the publication discusses several types of academic corruption at the student, faculty and university administration levels, as well as remedies and measures for mitigating corruption. The Challenges of Academic Integrity in Higher Education: Current Trends and Prospects raises our collective level of awareness about the current state of academic integrity at universities globally. This primer on the topic exposes researchers to new tools and techniques for analyzing and measuring corruption. Moreover, this analysis should encourage universities to reconsider their policies and procedures with regard to academic integrity.
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Based on a survey conducted among 600 students at selected public universities in Lviv, one of the largest Ukrainian cities, this contribution explores the determinants of several forms of student academic dishonesty and provides insights as to which groups of students are more likely to engage in either monetary or nonmonetary corruption. Full text is available at
The article compares two approaches to the analysis of corruption: the global corruption paradigm — a downstream view on corruption promoted by international organisations and policy makers, the socalled outsiders, and the analysis of informal practices — an upstream, or bottom-up, perspective of insiders, which contextualises motives and meaning of corrupt practices. The global corruption paradigm rests on the premises that corruption can be defined, measured and controlled. Since the 1990s, data on corruption have been systematically collected and monitored, yet there has been little progress in combatting the phenomenon across the globe. Success cases are rare, and policy makers are increasingly dis-satisfied with existing indicators and approaches to anti-corruption policies. On the one hand, the paper articulates the critique of assumptions, preconceptions and methodology implicit in the prevailing corruption paradigm. We question the cultural and historical neutrality of the definition of corruption, problems with its measurement, and implications for policy-making. On the other hand, the paper argues for the ‘disaggregation’ of the corruption paradigm and the necessity to integrate local knowledge and insiders’ perspectives into corruption studies. The combination of the two approaches will provide for more effective ways of tackling the challenges of corruption, especially in endemically corrupt systems.
Based on a survey conducted among 600 students at selected public universities in Lviv, one of the largest Ukrainian cities, this contribution explores the determinants of several forms of student academic dishonesty and provides insights as to which groups of students are more likely to engage in either monetary or nonmonetary corruption.
Lobbying public officials is common practice, but becomes problematic when officials have a financial interest in the sector that lobbies them and for which they are responsible. This article explores such cases, with a particular focus on Eastern Europe.
Das allgemeine Paradigma der Korruptionsforschung – Korruption sei zu definieren, ihr Grad zu bestimmen und daraufhin Anti-Korruptionsmaßnahmen einzuleiten – muss kritisch hinterfragt werden. Für einen differenzierenden Blick spricht zum Beispiel, dass bestimmte Erscheinungen, die im Westen bereits als Korruption gesehen werden, in anderen Kulturen akzeptierte soziale Norm oder sogar Tradition sind. Wie wirkt sich dies auf die Geschäftstätigkeit ausländischer Unternehmen in Russland aus? Wie sollten ausländische Unternehmen mit diesem Problem umgehen? Ein Verstoß gegen westliche Verhaltensmaßstäbe kann für Unternehmen weitreichende Konsequenzen haben, die sich auf ihre gesamte Geschäftstätigkeit auswirken. Spielen sie jedoch nicht nach den in Russland geltenden Regeln, verringern sich die Chancen, auf dem dortigen Markt Fuß zu fassen, erheblich. Eine Erweiterung ihrer Geschäftstätigkeit in Russland und die Nutzung der damit verbundenen Vorteile sind dann oft nicht möglich. Daraus ergibt sich die Frage, wie ein vernünftiges Modell entwickelt werden kann, dass es ermöglicht, in einem Land mit traditionell hoher Korruptionsrate dennoch nach ethischen Grundsätzen zu arbeiten. In Zukunft sollte bei der Aus- und Weiterbildung von Führungskräften auf diese und ähnliche Fragen eingegangen und diese im Kontext des jeweiligen Landes betrachtet werden.