The Impact of Unethical Practices

Plagiarism, also referred to as academic dishonesty, is a serious academic offense that if incurred has great consequences. Academic dishonesty is addressed in the online student handbook at Brenau University, it defines plagiarism as “the act of taking the words or ideas of another and representing them as one’s own” and if someone is caught cheating or plagiarizing within their work, there are disciplinary consequences that will be enforced. Brenau University denounces all forms of cheating. According to the handbook, there are three minimal offenses for academic dishonesty.

The first offense will cause the student to obtain a grade of “0” on the assignment. The second offense will cause the student to get an “F” in the course, and the third offense will lead to expulsion (Brenau University Handbook, 2011). The disciplinary actions of these offenses show the seriousness in which academic dishonesty is unethical and highly frowned upon; it leaves one to wonder if such unethical practices will carry over into the workforce. The attitude one has toward dishonesty while achieving academic goals can also be reflected in the way one conducts business.

If such unethical practices are taken lightly while in school, there is always the possibility that they will be taken lightly while working in the business world. Dishonest practices are not only confined to the academic environment. It is so competitive within the workplace that unethical behavior is often overlooked. The character of a company is built upon their business practices. Unethical practices within a business can have a very negative impact on a company. Employees with lax attitudes concerning such behavior can be problematic for their employer.

There are rules and guidelines in place to govern against unethical behavior and if found guilty of breaking those rules, one may incur consequences that include fines, loss of employment, and/or imprisonment. As a result of such unethical behavior, there can be a loss of revenue for a company. Not many businesses want to be associated with a company that has a bad reputation for unethical practices; therefore, things that generate revenue like contracts and endorsements can be affected.

In addition to financial burdens, there is also the possibility of public humiliation, and such publicity can cause the downfall of a company. It is important for a company to be able to claim the rights for their ideas and work, or intellectual property, and by incorporating the work of someone else and claiming it as their own can result in all of the aforementioned consequences. Intellectual property deals with legally protecting the creations of the human mind (Cheema, 2011, p. 666). This includes logos, inventions, discoveries, symbols, literary writings, phrases, designs, and music (Cheema, 2011, p. 66). It is the job of the company to engage in the development of new technologies, and when they attempt to copy successful innovations of other companies and claim them as their own, copyright laws are enforced to prevent the abuse of intellectual property rights (Helpman, 1992). As in academic, the breaking of these laws results in serious consequences. Again, showing the importance of engaging in honest practices As a government employee, working for the IRS, such attitudes can create a major issue for the taxpayers.

Any losses that incur are handed down to the taxpayers, and because we are responsible for managing revenue for the entire country, the infraction of unethical practices are harshly dealt with. It is safe to say that the Internal Revenue Service is a job that I do not have to worry about going out of business, but if a particular site is creating too much of an issue due to unethical practices, there is always the possibility that the government will shut that site down leaving many people unemployed.

Cheating is a behavior that is frowned upon in every aspect of life. It can make a direct statement toward the character of an individual or a company, because no one wants to be associated with a dishonest person due to the lack of trust. Dishonest behavior, whether academically or professionally, can have dire consequences. Therefore, it is imperative to commit to doing things ethically and having the right attitude is usually a good start.