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Avoiding Plagiarism in Student Assignments

I. The Department of Management Studies' Position on Plagiarism: Policy Statement

The Department of Management Studies considers plagiarism to be a serious offense –it is 'stealing'! –and we will treat it as a serious academic offense which may result in one or more of the following actions: (a) assigning an 'F' (i.e., zero points) to the assigned task (i.e., your 'work' in which the plagiarism has occurred), (b) assigning the grade of 'F' for the course, and (c) filing for disciplinary action for 'scholastic dishonesty' (see University of Minnesota Duluth Catalog, and the Student Conduct Code).

Papers (e.g., research/term papers) submitted for the fulfillment of course requirements must be a product of your creation. The purchase of papers, the use of papers or portions thereof written by others, and papers or portions of papers down-loaded from electronic sources will be considered academic misconduct resulting in a filing for disciplinary action and the receipt of a "F" for the course.

If you have doubt as to the meaning of plagiarism, or if you have questions pertaining to how to avoid this serious offense this document is intended to help. In addition, please feel free to talk to any faculty member in the Department of Management Studies. We are willing to help you avoid this problem. You can also get assistance from one of many writers' style guides, faculty in the university's composition department, or from the style guide adopted by the School of Business and Economics at the University of Minnesota Duluth --the American Psychological Associations' (APA) Publication Manual.

II. Plagiarism

Plagiarism –What is it?

The word plagiarize is commonly defined as the act of taking and passing off as one's own the ideas, writings, words, utterances, etc. of another. Diana Hacker (1977), author of a writing style guide (A Pocket Style Manual) identifies three types of plagiarism: (1) failing to cite quotations and borrowed ideas; (2) failing to enclose borrowed language in quotation marks, and (3) failing to put summaries and paraphrases in your own words" (Hacker, 1997, p. 92).

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity (or Why it is 'wrong' to copy)

To quote Hacker (1977), "Your research paper is a collaboration between you and your sources. To be fair and ethical, you must acknowledge your debt to the writers of these sources. If you don't, you are guilty of plagiarism, a serious academic offense" (p. 92).

Academic scholarship and therefore the mission of the university is twofold –the development (creation) and dissemination of knowledge. The first task is accomplished through research, while the second is fulfilled through teaching/lecturing and writing --the public presentation of ideas. When you are involved in a research-based class project, you too are involved in either or both of these tasks. In addition, and as noted by Hacker, you are involved in a collaborative enterprise with your sources (p. 92).

As students and professors of business we are interested in coming to understand social science phenomenon as they relate to formal organizations (e.g., human resources, management, marketing, organization). Our craft, the thoughts, ideas, hypotheses, explanations, and the theories we form, gets expressed through the words that we speak and write. Herein lies the importance and value of our words, as they are representations of us and our work. Similarly, the words and ideas of others are representations of them. This is the underlying reason for the need for proper citation -- "to be fair and ethical, you must acknowledge your debt" to the original author of an idea (Hacker, 1997, p. 92). Thus, acknowledging the ideas and representations of others by proper citation is, quite simply the 'right thing to do'!

There is another reason why we as scholars place great concern on plagiarism. The issue plagiarism revolves around our profession. As scholars, the university and the broader society calls upon us to work on the development and transmission of new ideas. Career decisions (e.g., tenure, promotion, and job mobility) are determined, in large part, by a scholar's ability to develop and share ideas with their colleagues, students, and society at large. To take the ideas of another and represent than as one's own fails to give justice to their original creator..

One final reason underlies the importance of proper citation. Few of us will ever develop "truly original" work. Throughout lives as students and careers as professors, most of us will "build on the shoulders of (others)" (source unknown). Proper citation allows our readers to understand the genesis and development of our ideas. Where did the original seeds for an idea come from? Who has studied the phenomenon before? What do we (as a field) already know about the phenomenon? What does this particular work add to our body of knowledge? Proper citations allow our readers to understand the answers to these questions, and thus, the value of our work as an addition to an existing body of knowledge.

It is therefore imperative that scholars (both professors and students) learn well the art of proper citation –giving credit for the ideas of others to those others. It is also imperative that when we "borrow" the ideas of others to bolster our own, we do not claim those ideas as our own, but summarize and give credit for them to their original author.

III. Referencing Instructions –Ways to avoid 'plagiarism' and How to Paraphrase

"How do I avoid plagiarism?" –Quite simply cite where your thoughts and ideas come from, and use quotation marks when you use the exact words of others. In both instances identify both within the text and on your reference page the appropriate location of the materials used (see below for examples on how to reference paraphrased and quoted word).

Paraphrasing simply means that you are taking the words (ideas) expressed by another individual and recrafting those idea through the construction of your own sentences. According to Hacker (1997), "When you summarize or paraphrase, it is not enough to name the source; you must restate the source's meaning using your own language" (p. 94). She goes on to state that "You are guilty of plagiarism if you half-copy the author's sentences –either by mixing the author's well-chosen phrases without using quotation marks or by plugging your own synonyms into the author's sentence structure" (Hacker, p. 94).

Regarding 'paraphrases' Hacker (1977: 94-95) provides a useful example:

Original Source

"If the existence of a signing ape was unsettling for linguists, it was also startling news for animal behaviorists." –Davis, Eloquent Animals, p. 26.

Unacceptable Borrowing of Phrases

The existence of a signing ape unsettled linguists and startled animal behaviorists (Davis, 26).

Unacceptable Borrowing of Structure

If the presence of a sign-language-using chimp was disturbing for scientists studying language, it was also surprising to scientists studying animal behavior (Davis, p. 26).

Acceptable Paraphrases

When they learned of an ape's ability to use sign language, both linguists and animal behaviorists were taken by surprise (Davis, p. 26).

According to Flora Davis, linguists and animal behaviorists were unprepared for the news that a chimp could communicate with its trainers through sign language (p. 26).

Reference Page Citations

ALL works employed in the writing of your paper should be referenced (listed alphabetically) on a 'reference page.' The information contained on the reference page should enable the reader of your paper to be able to quickly and easily find the exact location of the work upon which you are drawing and the specific page(s) within that work that you are quoting.

The following illustrations are intended to show you how to handle different types of citations and within text references:

Journal Articles:

Albert, S., & Bell, G. G. 2002. Timing and music. Academy of Management Review 27:4, 574-593.

Note: the number 27 above represents the journal's volume number, 4 is the issue number, and 574-593 represents the article's page numbers. The issue number is not needed if the pages within a particular volume run consecutively.


James, W. 1890. The Principles of Psychology. New York: Holt Publishing


Brown, T. L. 1989. What will it take to win? Industry Week, June 19, p. 15.


O'Driscoll, M. P. Professor of Psychology, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, personal conversation, January 24, 2002.

On Line Sources:

Dunham, R. B. (1999). Organizational commitment: A multidimensional attitude. Journal of Organizational Behavior. [On-line]. Available: –here you are to specify the exact and full path– (Note: this is a not a real publication, created for illustrative purposes only)