Summary of article, BUSINESS 2.0, 11/03, page 60, “Teaching the Wrong Lesson” by Jeffrey Pfeffer commentary in grayed out sections.

Mr. Pfeffer describes several incidents of student cheating and the amount of time spent in trying to uncover such activities by several teachers in an MBA program at one of the top business school in the USA. He states that whilst listening to these teachers he began to ponder the recent financial scandals and wondered, “What role does higher education play in all of this? Can you trace elements of the Enron debacle to Jeff Skilling’s and Andy Fastow’s days at business school?” A new study from the Aspen Institute states that 1 in 5 MBA students feels an MBA will teach anything about the handling of ethical problems. Mr. Pfeffer refers to the old argument that reflects that students not having learned ethical behavior prior to their entrance to business school, are not likely to learn it there. And then there are those that argue that teaching ethical behavior in the university setting can shape a student’s career.

Students are required (as per the honor code) to report other students seen cheating, but what student wants to be known as a snitch? And it is well known that most teachers do not report cheating because the judicial process is “so arduous”.

Laurette Beeson, Stanford’s judicial affairs adviser, states that cheating is much more common than it was 20 years ago for several reasons. Firstly, the pressure put on students to perform. Secondly, the Internet has made it much easier to cheat and thirdly, and most egregious of all, students are responding to a shift in attitude: Everyone’s doing it. Why shouldn’t I?

Remember when Clinton was caught lying about what “is” is? How many parents had to turn off their TV’s when their kids walked into the room? The thing most remembered about this whole incident, were the number of kids that cited Clinton’s getting away with lying under oath.