Academic dishonesty and whistleblowing in a higher education institution: A sociological analysis

Keywords: academic dishonesty, whistleblowing, reasoned action approach, higher education.


High rates of academic dishonesty are a concern, and whistleblowing is a mechanism that can curb the incidence thereof. This study attempted to identify the variables associated with the reporting of academic dishonesty, framing itself within the reasoned action approach. It entailed a survey with a sample of 405 undergraduate sociology students. Data was collected by means of self-administered structured questionnaire. Five factors mediate the willingness to report: students’ general honesty; their level of academic honesty; the justification for committing academic dishonesty; the personal impact of reporting; and the adherence to principles as an influence on reporting. Students with higher degrees of general honesty were more willing to report, the fear of retaliation contributed to an unwillingness to report, and institutional rules; norms and procedures influenced willingness to report.

Author Biographies

Ugljesa Radulovic, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Ugljesa Radulovic completed his degree in sociology, honour’s and master’s degrees in industrial sociology at the University of Johannesburg. His master’s dissertation was concerned with academic dishonesty and whistleblowing. He is presently doing his doctorate titled: State Capture, Non-governmental Organisations and Whistleblowing under the Zuma Presidency. His fields of interest are group dynamics and clinical sociology, and is particularly interested in whistleblowing. He has been teaching group dynamics, conflict studies and clinical sociology since 2014.
Tina Uys, University of Johannesburg
Tina Uys is Professor of sociology at the University of Johannesburg.  During 2013 she was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at George Washington University in Washington, DC and at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio.  She is rated as an Internationally Acclaimed Researcher (B3) by the South African National Research Foundation. She is also a Certified Clinical Sociologist (AACS). She specialises in clinical sociology with a particular focus on advancing the sociological understanding of whistleblowing.


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