Plagiarism in South African management journals: A follow-up study


  • Adèle Thomas Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, Johannesburg Business School, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa



academic ethics, journal editors and publishers, similarity index, Turnitin™, university administrators


Internationally, a rise in plagiarism by academics has been reported. The objective of the present study was to examine the extent of plagiarism in articles appearing in 19 South African management journals published in 2016 and to compare the findings to a study undertaken in 2015 using 2011 data from the same 19 journals. This study progresses the debate around academic ethics and academic integrity in the country – a topic, thus far, that has received little research attention. A total of 454 published articles were submitted through the similarity detection software Turnitin™. High and excessive similarity was identified and over 80% of submissions evidenced similarity in excess of 9%. University administrators, journal editors and publishers, and the South African Department of Higher Education and Training are alerted to this plagiarism that undermines the academic pursuit. This awareness is particularly important as faculty serve as role models to students. Measures should thus be taken to ensure that faculty provide sound role models as ethical researchers.


  • Plagiarism is an ongoing and increasing problem and is particularly concerning when faculty themselves plagiarise, as it impacts institutional integrity and culture, and negatively influences role modelling for students.
  • The present study highlights the increase in plagiarism in the field of management and alerts other fields of academia to this problem.
  • University administrators and journal editors and publishers are reminded about the roles they can play to address plagiarism.


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How to Cite

Thomas, A. (2019). Plagiarism in South African management journals: A follow-up study. South African Journal of Science, 115(5/6).



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