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Academic Cheating and Fraud Triangle Theory: Undergraduate Students’ Perspectives

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Academic cheating is endemic to all levels of education and the impact is devastating; yet the disgraceful act persists and recurs oftentimes. Since cheating is an element of fraud, this study attempt to demonstrate how fraud triangle theory could be used as a theoretical foundation to explain the causes of academic dishonesty. This qualitative study explores the first-hand experience of academic cheating among accounting students in a public university in Malaysia. Face-to-face in-depth interviews with twenty undergraduate accounting students were conducted to gather their opinion and perception about academic cheating. A semi-structured interview question was designed based on the three elements of fraud triangle theory (pressure, opportunity and rationalization). The results revealed several possible key factors that motivate the students to engage in academic cheating. The findings of this study are essential to academician and the bodies of authority in improving the integrity of the accounting students and the education quality. The study is expected to assist the university in recognizing the red flags and identifying the current academic system weaknesses and formulating the preventive measures. The limitations and future research of this study are also discussed.
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Keywords: Academic Cheating; Accounting Students; Education; Integrity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Accountancy, Universiti Teknologi MARA Selangor, Puncak Alam Campus, 42300 Bandar Puncak Alam, Selangor, Malaysia 2: Faculty of Accountancy, Universiti Teknologi MARA Perak, Tapah Campus, 35400 Tapah Road, Perak, Malaysia

Publication date: November 1, 2017

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  • ADVANCED SCIENCE LETTERS is an international peer-reviewed journal with a very wide-ranging coverage, consolidates research activities in all areas of (1) Physical Sciences, (2) Biological Sciences, (3) Mathematical Sciences, (4) Engineering, (5) Computer and Information Sciences, and (6) Geosciences to publish original short communications, full research papers and timely brief (mini) reviews with authors photo and biography encompassing the basic and applied research and current developments in educational aspects of these scientific areas.
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