Well, what a week. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster, but before reflecting on this weeks events, let me take you back to another occasion that I recall.
About a year ago I went to the funeral of a friend of mine, Ray Richards. Ray was a very well known publisher and as such knew all of New Zealand’s literary giants. He was quite a bit older than me and I enjoyed his company. On Anzac days he loved to regale us with his wartime tales of flying in the Pacific and his exploits with landing on aircraft carriers. Because of this Navy connection, his funeral service was held at the Naval Base in Devonport. All the New Zealand literati were there, including Professor Witi Ihimaera from University of Auckland who gave a very nice speech. I was telling another friend of mine what a lovely speech Witi had given. His immediate response was ‘Did he write it himself’? This was a reference to publishing The Trowenna Sea (Ihemaera, 2009) that included large sections that were apparently plagiarised. The University awarded Professor Ihimaera a $50k prize for the work. The book was later recalled after howls of protest. Plagiarism, apparently, was alive at the University of Auckland!
Fast forward to this week and we have a situation in our MGMT300 class that looks a lot like cheating has gone on. When Marina stood in front of the class and explained the process that the selection committee used, I was quite stunned. They had seemingly ignored most of the data supplied on the ‘CV’s’ and assembled teams on the basis of how high their share holder value was. It later transpired that they had first isolated their own CV’s. After the work was done, they were the remainder who formed the last, or first, team. We were not informed that this is how the selection committee formed their team but this was revealed later at a meeting of the CEO’s who were also informed that after allocating all the teams, the sixth member was the only person left who did not have a team. He just happened to have scored the highest SHV of the whole class at around $170. It was decided at the meeting that we would convene the next day to make a collaborative decision on what should be done. This did not happen. Peter announced that there would be no penalty or consequence for their collusion. As a concession to the other competitors Peter announced that should the selection team be the winners, he will allow the team that comes second to also take the 5% bonus. It sounds like cheating, it feels like cheating and it looks like cheating. My conclusion is that cheating is acceptable behaviour in the MGMT300 class!
I hold no bitterness or rancour to anyone involved as there is little danger of the team that I am in claiming the 5% bonus. We are not in that league. There are however a dozen or more teams who may be disadvantaged. I am lucky to be in a team that is perfectly balanced with three women and three men, three extroverts, three introverts and six people who will each do their best to help one another to complete the assignment to the best of our collective ability. We may not win the competition for SHV but we will be in with a very good chance to win the competition for collaboration, fairness and honesty!
Ihemaera, W. (2009). The Trowenna Sea. Auckland: Raupo.