According to prior research studies, plagiarism is not just appearing in the academic environment. Now, plagiarism is being seen in corporate America as a way to "adjust" information that might otherwise seem unfavorable to stakeholders, higher-ups, or others who will be provided information regarding something to do with the company. Financial issues are often a part of the plagiarism issue, but there are other concerns that are not related to the company's finances. No matter what concerns a corporation has, it should be honest about those concerns and not attempt to cover them up with dishonesty of any kind. There are other dishonest practices other than plagiarism that are used in corporations today, but plagiarism is one of the more common problems that is discovered. It appears to be acceptable until it is discovered, and it is important that the researcher examines just how much plagiarism is permeating the corporate world.
Studied here is corporate plagiarism, as well as the reasons behind it and the effects of it that are seen on the various groups of individuals who are related to the company in some way. Employees are the most vulnerable group, but they are not the only ones who can have trouble that is based on corporate dishonesty and plagiarism tactics. People higher up the corporate ladder can be fooled, and customers may also be made to pay the price if the company is found to be dishonest, because it can potentially put a company out of business. Anyone who deals with the company can be part of the group that sees the effects of plagiarism, and the separate groups are discussed and analyzed here, in order to provide more information regarding the issue of plagiarism at a corporate level.
Plagiarism in the Corporate World
Problem to be Addressed
The idea of plagiarism is not new, and has been around for centuries. However, it is also a problematic issue because it is technically not a crime. Instead, it is more about the moral concerns that surround it and the damage done to the original author if a person plagiarizes a work. While students are usually the ones guilty of plagiarizing, they are not the only individuals who take others' work and attribute it to themselves instead of being honest about who originally created the material. Companies can also plagiarize, and when this occurs in the business world it can have serious consequences. These consequences are not just felt by the company, but also by those who work with the company on various levels and the families of the employees of that company, who may rely on the income of that employee and feel that the job is safe and secure from a financial standpoint.
By transferring an academic issue over to a corporate issue, the definition of plagiarism is expanded and also becomes more serious, since it can affect other employees, stakeholders, shareholders, the company's bottom line, and anyone who has dealings with that company on any level. The specific problem to be addressed here is plagiarism on the corporate level, as opposed to the academic level, in order to determine whether corporate plagiarism has a negative effect on the business environment and who is most strongly affected by this kind of dishonesty in corporate America. Because there are corporations in the U.S. And in other parts of the world that engage in dishonesty, the public could be at financial risk and not realize the seriousness of the issue.
Purpose of the Research
This research has a single purpose: to bring to light the idea of corporate plagiarism and see who is affected by it. By doing this, it will be easier to understand the seriousness of corporate plagiarism, as well as how much it affects the companies where it occurs and the rest of the "real world" of corporations, stakeholders, employees, customers, and others who are tied to a company in some way. There is not just one group that is affected by corporate or business-world plagiarism, so it is important to take a look at all of the different groups that could be affected and analyze them in order to determine which groups see more effects and which groups are spared most of the problems that come about from any kind of plagiarism and dishonesty at the corporate level.
There are many questions that could be asked about plagiarism at a business level, but the researcher specifically wants to know the following:
How does plagiarism in the corporate world affect each of the different segments of the population with which the corporation is involved (i.e. directors, stockholders, shareholders, employees, financial backers, etc.)?
By determining how each one of the groups that are tied to a corporation in some way are affected by plagiarism by that corporation, one can more easily discover the true affects of plagiarism and the far-reaching problems that are seen when dishonesty occurs. While there are many other forms of corporate dishonesty that are not related to plagiarism or that are not specifically tied to plagiarism, corporations must be vigilant regarding many different types of dishonesty. Many corporations think that plagiarism is strictly a problem for the academic sphere, but this is not the case.
By using a broad research question instead of one that is much more narrow, the researcher has the opportunity to learn much more about the overall problem. Because the researcher can find information that addresses various aspects of the problem with which the corporations may struggle, the researcher will not only learn more but also be able to provide readers of the study with insight and information about the problem. This can lead those readers to conduct their own studies and draw their own conclusions.
Review of the Literature
Ideally, everyone in the business world would be honest. Corporate America would have the best interests of the customers and the employees at heart, and everyone would get along and feel safe. Unfortunately, that is really not the case. Most corporations throughout the U.S. - and even throughout the world - have among their ranks some people who are not as honest as everyone else or not as honest as they would like others to believe. Occasionally, management is corrupt overall, although this is less common. When corporations start seeing that there are problems, though, they can turn to various ways of doing things in order to make themselves look good to stakeholders, shareholders, and investors (Haggerty & McKinnon, 2004). If they cannot continue to look appealing, they may end up going out of business because they do not draw in people who want to spend money to help keep them afloat. Without investors and without a good bottom line, a corporation can really struggle (Levisohn, 2008; Aguilera & Vadera, 2008; McKinnon, 2004).
As was evidenced by Enron and other corporations that have been guilty of deceiving the public and their own employees, real problems exist within the corporate world where dishonesty is concerned (Levisohn, 2008; Aguilera & Vadera, 2008). That does not mean that there is no trust at all, or that most corporations are bad, but only that there are difficulties faced by some corporations that are covered up so as not to "make waves" or cause any other kinds of problems. Most of the time, the problems that are covered up are financial (Aguilera & Vadera, 2008; McKinnon, 2004). The company might not be making the kind of money it had hoped to make, but it wants to appear as though it is doing very well in order to bring in more investors and keep growing. Companies that admit to doing poorly often do not attract investors, because people who have money do not want to take a chance on losing that money - so companies have to make themselves look better than they really are in order to have hopes of actually becoming successful.
Unfortunately, many companies are only successful on paper, and that is generally because those companies have worked to make things look better than they are (Levisohn, 2008; McKinnon, 2004). They take the work of others, and information that has been provided to them, and they twist and shape it in such a way that they look good, even though the information might not have been anything that portrayed the company in a positive light (Bailey, 2008). While it is not always easy to take negative information and turn it into something positive, corporations do it when they see that they need to keep going and they are not getting the return on investment that they had hoped to get. They can also do that when there are negative reports about them that are not financial (Bailey, 2008). They walk a fine line between being honest and looking good, and sometimes they cross that line - and get into trouble when they are caught by authorities or whistle blowers.