We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I have noticed the same tendency in myself on occasion, and hated myself for it. Some self-loathing can be the price of self-knowledge. It is easier to forgive the faults and flaws of others than one's own.
You also see this in organizations where there are a lot of part-timers, which means that one person's clients may have their files finished by another employee. This works well as long as the first employee leaves the unfinished files in good order, ready for finalization by another. There also needs to be reciprocity, where that first employee finishes off his co-workers' files.
However, too often you'll find that First Employee pushes through as many files as he can, leaving them in shambles, and then tells the clients to come in anytime (preferably on his days off) as "someone else with finish for you". First Employee gets credit for the files, while co-workers have to clean them up, check for errors (common), and placate the client. Had this happen last year and was able to put a stop to it only by telling First Employee's clients that they had to book with him as the rest of us were too busy to help.
Years ago, I had the good fortune to work for Roger Ailes.
When he addressed the team for the first time, he made a few simple statements. The one which resonated most with me was that in almost every organization, 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. It's up to you to figure out if you are part of the 20%, and if you aren't, you'd better do something about it or he would.
The problem with this is that it is true in almost every organization. Which basically means unless you're at a very, very small company where people wear many hats, you're going to be subject to this situation. I've found it to be true almost everywhere I've worked.
My daughter had a few group projects where everybody got the same grade based on the finished project. She did all the work and everybody got a B or an A. Stupid way to assign work to grade schoolers.
When I was in engineering school, we had a class where we did group design projects. Part of it was to have experience with critical path management. We each got individual grades based on our work on our part of the project. One guy (an Iranian, by the way) never did his work so we had to do it for him at 3:00 am Mardi Gras morning! We were NOT happy. The project leader asked the professor if he could fire a team member. He didn't say no. He only said that in real life, you have to deal with people who don't pull their weight. The project leader ended up not firing him (I wish he had) so the rest of us carried him.
Funny, because when I did group projects in college, you got graded based on your input.
I took part in a documentary. Two people out of the four in my group 'took over' and did the lion's share of the writing (to be honest, they cut me and the other person out entirely and decided to go down their own path - but they had a good idea and I was more comfortable doing the production work, anyway). When the project was done, I'd gotten a 'D' along with the fourth person. The two writers got 'A's. I complained, to no avail. I felt that doing the filming and editing was every bit as involved, considering I wasn't invited to the writing sessions.
Recently, my son had a similar experience up at Miami Ohio. His group had done a project and he was one of the main people bringing up ideas. But implementing and writing was left to some others in his group. He had a bad relationship with his professor, so when the people who did the writing complained, the professor lowered his grade.
In academics, particularly today, the politicization of the grade is every bit as important as the work required to achieve a result. Being friendly with the professor, showing your involvement, it all plays out in your grade - even if you do little real work. Sadly, the same is often true in the corporate world.
When I was in graduate school--science and engineering--we had more foreign students than natives. The foreign students were big bucks to the University so it was "too big to fail". The foreign students, no matter what country, were for the most part ill prepared so we "helped" them a lot. One year at graduation, the Head of the department said to me--as one of the foreign students walked across the stage for his diploma--your name should be on that thesis as co-author.
The same is true for German companies, especially the large ones like Siemens, VW and Krupps. In smaller companies, everyone pulls their weight because everyone knows the company's success or failure depends on what they contribute every single day. But in large groups, slackers can hide quite easily. I think it's just human nature, not necessarily a cultural thing, and will always be present in any large organizations.
Karl Horst (Germany)
It seems to be a truth of nature that the larger the organization, the less efficient it becomes.
Yet half of the population seems to believe that bigger government is better.
This phenomenon can largely be overcome by proper organization design and incentive structure.
A 200-person corporation run by someone who doesn't address these matters effectively will be more subject to the slacker rule than will a 10,000-person corporation run by someone who knows how to manage.