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Title: A comparative analysis of the Chinese and South African work ethic
Authors: Slabbert, Andre
Ukpere, Wilfred I
Keywords: Chinese people;Education;Work ethic;Labour force;Productivity rate;South Africa
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Emerald
Source: Andre Slabbert, Wilfred I. Ukpere, (2011) "A comparative analysis of the Chinese and South African work ethic", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 38 Iss: 8, pp.734 - 741
Abstract: Purpose – South Africa is a developing country, and within this context, it is essential to be economically competitive and proactive. Various sources reveal that the national productivity has been traditionally low, and continues to remain low. Within the context of the international arena, this is unacceptable. If South Africa is to become a recognised role player in the international arena, it is imperative to increase productivity like China. This paper aims to focus on the issues involved. Design/methodology/approach – A 65‐item inventory which measures seven conceptually and empirically distinct facets of the work ethic construct, i.e. the multi‐dimensional work ethic profile (MWEP) was utilised to critically distinguish between the Chinese and South African workforces. The samples approximated 150 subjects in each grouping. Findings which emanate from this study have distinct ramifications for the South African economy. Findings – It appears as if a linkage exists between productivity and work ethic, as illustrated by amongst others, Hamilton‐Attwell and Du Gay and Pryke. Paradoxically, a number of other variables exist which impact on the productivity phenomenon, thus rendering a strict causal relationship between work ethic and productivity tenuous in nature. Despite this, it is a recognised reality that there is a substantive “negativity” in the work ethic of the South African labour force, possibly in relation to historical and cultural factors. The Chinese work ethic is diametrically opposed to that of South Africa. Research limitations/implications – In discussions with Chinese workers held in 2010, four primary schools of thought emerged: a firm belief that hard work will bring desired results; pride in personal accomplishments and hard work; fear of embarrassment or shame in case of failure; and immense patriotic pride in China and its achievements.
Appears in Collections:BUS - Journal Articles (DHET subsidised)

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