Personal Implications of Plagiarizing

Aug 29, 2018

In previous posts about academic integrity, we have discussed the professional implications of plagiarism and the range of potential penalties related to breaching the profession’s Updated Plagiarism Policy. There are also ethical and personal consequences of breaching the CPA Canada Plagiarism Policy, and we outline some of these repercussions below.

Knowledge gaps

Even if you don’t get caught copying work, plagiarizing an assignment will lead to knowledge gaps as you will miss the learning that could have come from it. Every assignment during your time as a learner is designed to help you acquire important knowledge, use critical thinking skills, or learn how to properly use and research information. If you plagiarize, you risk cheating yourself of knowledge as you won’t understand certain concepts and can make future assignments and exams unnecessarily more difficult. If you never fill those gaps, you also risk being a well-rounded professional, which can harm your career.

Tainted reputation

Plagiarizing can damage your relationship with classmates and facilitators. Incidents involving group plagiarism or sharing of work can lead to blame and feeling shame and disappointment. If you are assigned a penalty of failing a course or module, or if you are suspended or expelled from the School, you risk harming your reputation as you will likely have to explain to someone why you have to redo the module or course, or why you are taking a break from CPA studies.

Financial costs

The penalties of failing a course or module and suspension or expulsion have indirect financial impacts. If your employer pays for your CPA education, they may be unwilling to pay for a repeated course or module. And if you are paying your own fees, you would have paid for a failed course or module and will pay again to repeat it.

Ethical dilemma

There is a direct link between academic integrity and professional integrity. If you are willing to take a shortcut while preparing an assignment you may be more likely to compromise ethical standards as a professional. What does this say about your integrity and character? If you are caught cutting corners in the professional world, the consequences could be more severe, such as job loss, criminal charges, and/or public harm to your reputation

While the professional consequences of plagiarizing will certainly affect your academic career, the personal repercussions can have a greater long-term impact, even if you aren’t caught.