12.30.2009

Plagiarism

A somewhat different take on plagiarism (at least from the kind of plagiarism that we talk most about in our classrooms) is this little graphic in USAToday (12/29/09): In a survey of 444 workers, 29% said that a co-worker at some time took credit for his or her ideas. And perhaps more surprising, 51% did nothing about it.

7 comments:

maestra said...

Plagiarism, as we teach it in our classrooms, usually refers to stealing another’s written and not oral ideas. In today’s business world, where there is a lot of collaborating, or group teamwork through oral communication, it is easy for one individual to steal the idea(s) of a co-worker, sometimes without even realizing that he/she is doing so. Most workers, who bring an idea to the attention of a boss or manager, probably do not even recall that another co-worker expressed that same idea in a previous casual conversation or formal meeting. Of course, there are those who know that they did not originate an idea but still promote it as their own. A boss may be guilty of this, particularly if the employee discussed an idea with him/her, in the privacy of his/her office, when there were no other individuals present to hear the source of the idea. Stealing another’s idea at any level is not uncommon in companies where people vie for promotions and/or raises and ideas transmitted orally among workers are not accompanied by written documentation. Emailing, or sending out a memo to fellow employees or bosses at the conclusion of a meeting, and reiterating that one had contributed a particular innovative idea at that meeting, would be a way of documenting the origin of the idea and would eliminate such so-called plagiarism. The reason why such a large number of respondents in the survey did nothing about the stealing of their ideas was probably that they could not prove they had originated those ideas, or possibly that they simply did not want to be known in their companies as individuals who had accused bosses or fellow employees of stealing, as such accusations may have been more harmful than not to their careers there.

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