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As noted in previous work (Kim & Sikula, 2005; Kim & Sikula, 2006; Kim, Sikula & Smith, 2006; Kim, Cho & Sikula, 2007), there are three types of people in the workplace: “Necessities,” “Commoners,” and “Parasites.” A person of Necessity is irreplaceable and crucial to the functioning of an organization. A Commoner is a person of normal ability and talent who has no significant impact on organizational success. Parasites are detrimental freeloaders who damage the functioning of an organization.

Kim & Sikula (2005) asked 25 students in an MBA Organizational Behavior class and 13 working managers (all of whom live and work in the United States) for their views on the leading traits and behaviors of Necessities, Commoners, and Parasites. In this paper we replicate the 2005 study in a different cultural setting, by surveying a sample of Executive MBA students in Viña del Mar, Chile. We then compare the results.

The leading traits and behaviors that characterize Necessities and Parasites in both data sets are very similar. The Chilean and U.S. subjects, however, differ significantly on what defines a Commoner. One potential explanation for this difference, we conclude, can be traced to differences in the respondents’ cultural backgrounds.


Authors' copy submitted for online publication. Reprinted with permission from Delhi Institute of Advanced Studies.