The antithesis of social loafing was brought into sharp focus back in 2009 when Shanghai became the first Chinese region to enter the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). In its first entry year, Shanghai came top in mathematics, science, and reading by a considerable margin. PISA looks at the attainments of 15-year olds and by 2012 (the latest data set available), Shanghai had cemented its position as the top-performing student group. This is an incredible achievement for a region of just 23.9 million people. Preconceived visions of Chinese students suggest they learn from rote, but in fact, this is not the case. In terms of memorization, the Shanghai students performed less well than those from the United Kingdom. So what is it that sets the Shanghai students apart from
most of the rest of the world? A typical Chinese 15-year-old has eight 40-minute classes each day. Despite this heavy workload, the teacher led sessions, according to observers, are performed with
total pupil concentration even though classes can be up to 60 in strength. Age-old Chinese folktales recount the successes of those who show diligence and hard work. Concepts such as being gifted or talented have far less currency than simply working hard. For generations, Chinese students have worked hard to achieve good grades in their gaokao examinations. These are key to university entrance. The combination of hard work and high stake examinations means that an average Chinese 15-year-old does 3 hours of homework every night. There is no time for social loafing; individual and cultural motivators drive the students forward.
9-25. Why does social loafing cause ethical dilemmas? What is it about social loafing that makes it difficult to cope with on a one-to-one basis if one of your colleagues does it?
9-26. Social loafing is exposed in performance appraisals and other methods of assessing productivity and output. How should it be handled when it is exposed?
9-27. Most Chinese 15-year-olds spurn television, social media, and console gaming. On the other hand, many of the students do not excel in creative thinking or problem-solving. To what extent might this be an issue compared to other societies that might focus on these aspects?
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Program for International Student Assessment,
http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pisa/index.asp, accessed January 23, 2014; “Shanghai Population
2015,” WPR, http://worldpopulationreview.com/world-cities/shanghai-population/.