The integration of rational choice and self-efficacy theories: A situational analysis of student misconduct
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Research on the causes of student misconduct in higher education has largely overlooked the values of integrating individual and situational perspectives to structure empirical examinations. Such research has important implications for the prevention and management of academic misconduct by higher education institutions. In this study, perceptual deterrence (Piquero & Pogarsky, 2002; Stafford & Warr, 1993) and self-efficacy (Bandura, 1997) theories were adopted to model the impact of situational factors and individual differences on students' intentions to engage in plagiarism. A questionnaire using a scenario method and manipulating the situational deterrence variables of the certainty and severity of sanctions was administered to 536 undergraduate university students. Analysis of covariance results indicated that the objective manipulations of the certainty and severity of sanctions had no effect on intentions to engage in plagiarism. However, Tobit regression results indicated that both situational perceptions of costs and benefits, and academic self-efficacy were significant predictors of intentions to engage in plagiarism. Furthermore, academic self-efficacy was found to moderate the effects of deterrence perceptions on intentions to engage in plagiarism. The results highlight the significance of the interaction between situational and individual characteristics on decisions to engage in deviant behaviour. Implications for the management of misconduct in higher education institutions are discussed.
The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
© 2010 SAGE Publications. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.