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As noted in Kim & Sikula (2003, 2005), there are three types of people in the workplace: "Necessities", "Commoners," and "Parasites". A necessity (excellent employee) is irreplaceable and crucial to the functioning of an organization. A Commoner (average laborer) is a person of normal ability and talent who has no significant impact on organizational success. Lastly, Parasites (problem workers) are detrimental freeloaders who damage the functioning of an organization.

In the 2005 paper, we analyzed the survey responses of 25 students in an MBA Organizational Behavior class and 13 working managers, all in the United States. In this paper, we replicate our 2005 study in a different cultural setting: an MBA Organizational class in Suwon, Korea. We then compare the results.

The leading traits and behaviors that characterize the Necessity and Parasite categories in both data sets are very similar. Significant differences exist, however, between the data sets identifying the leading traits and behaviors that define a Commoner. We conclude by exploring potential explanations for the similarities and differences, primarily based on the respondents' cultural backgrounds.


This article first appeared in the March 2007 issue of Business Journal of Entrepreneurs and is reprinted with permission.

©2007 Franklin Publishing Company