Hungarian and French economics students' social representations of competition and fraud: A confirmatory study  

Orosz G.
University of Szeged, University of Rheims, Eötvös Lóránd University, Szeged, Hungary

Considering Fülöp et al.'s previous studies, immoral competition is pervasively present in Hungarian business sphere – a phenomenon that can be interpreted as a negative after-effect of the change of regime. Hence, the aim of this research project was to analyze how the moral dimension appears in the next generation of businessmen’s social representations of competition. Hungarian and French economics students with different historical and cultural backgrounds were compared. The results of the first study show that moral dimensions are present, but only in the secondary peripheral part of Hungarians’ representations of competition. Moreover, Hungarian students concentrate on the result of competition, while French students’ representation contains more elements pertaining to the process of competition. Surprisingly, in the Hungarians’ fraud representation, academic cheating was strongly present. 127 Hungarian and 115 French economics students participated in this research; first they had to choose five most typical words from a 20-word list concerning competition and fraud, later they made relations between the 12 most peculiar words. These lists of words were constructed on the base of a previous study. The results of these tasks confirm the first study: French students’ competition representation is more self-developmental than that of Hungarian students, whose representation focuses on the results and not the manner of competition. In Hungarian’s social representation of fraud, academic cheating again appeared significantly more frequently than among their French peers. Previous studies show that academic cheating is more prevalent where goal orientation is more important (Hungarian students) than self-developmental aspects (French students). Moreover, former studies found a strong correlation between academic cheating and workplace frauds, which proves the importance of academic cheating in the socialization of dishonesty in the business sphere.