Academic Integrity: From Abstract Talking to Particular Management

Nijolė Vasiljevienė

Abstract


The paper deals with the analysis of academic integrity concept and its wider application possibilities in Lithuanian universities. It provides the analysis of ethics institutionalization problems in the field and relates the ways of their resolution through academic integrity management. The aim of the paper is to reveal that integrity in organization activity has definite meanings and to prove that integrity is valid when transferring from abstract talking to real building of academic integrity is taking place. The author also explains that the realization of academic integrity is stipulated by proper organizational processes, ethics infrastructure and presupposed by effective value management systems, which enforce operationalization of outstanding aims of higher education.
The author traces existing in Lithuanian higher school structures social cultural attitudes that determine mental and institutional barriers for integrity concept establishing. She argues that instrumental application of academic integrity diminishes the gap between declared values and facts, as well as between established ethics norms and their realization in institutional practice. Thus, integrity management helps to eliminate academic misconduct and still existent multiple facts of academic dishonesty.
If such situation remains, the value of higher education decreases. That is why the formation of academic integrity assures the way to improve the situation. The paper generally raises the seminal problem of academic ethics institutionalization in Lithuanian higher schools and offers building the system, in which the society could trust in and rely on higher school diploma, university credentials and competencies of university graduates as prospective professionals.
The paper offers to build academic integrity in Lithuanian higher school institutions by transferring the focus from individual integrity to the organizational one, while purposively forming corporative integrity through implementation of definite organisational processes and procedures. Only complex formation of integrity culture can surmount academic dishonesty, so it requires systems approach to the struggle against academic fouls, reconstruction of appropriate organization processes, creation of required integrity promotion procedures as well as its consistent implementation by using all managerial tools.
The attempts to implement ethics codes “from above”, in many cases without substantiation of new ethics regulation necessity by discourse, and to avoid a reflection of academic integrity problems were unlucky. The failures are also stipulated by maintaining ethics norms purely through prescriptive imperatives, along with widespread ignorance of value management on the institutional level and without due awareness of definite ethics tools. Namely, these tools enable changes of attitudes and behaviours, promote academic integrity and empower changes on institutional level, help to cultivate integrity culture in academic life practices.
In recent decade, ethical regulation of academic community in Lithuania has been improving purely through creation of normative content of documents, however, its evaluation and comparing against real possibilities and specific environment was lacking, while making norms more exact and correcting mistakes and inaccuracies.
The author stresses peculiarities of modern organisational ethics paradigm and offers to apply them in a wider context, while constructing organisational integrity in universities, i.e. while forming practically ethics values and purposively creating academic integrity with the help of interdisciplinary scientific knowledge. It is possible if one uses his analytical and prognostic abilities not only copying the examples of good practices or blindly moving along the way of “trial-and-error methods”.

Keywords


academic integrity; integrity management; ethics infrastructure; ethics codes; academic ethics

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13165/SMS-14-6-3-06

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236