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Thread: Caribbean Work Ethic

  1. #1
    Registered User Vye Negre is offline
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    Caribbean Work Ethic

    Work attitude described as stumbling block to job performance | Dominica News Online


    Attitude to work has been singled out as the major stumbling block towards improved performance on the job and a change in mindset, together with cultural reform are crucial if change is to be realized.

    Executive Director of the Dominica Employers Federation (DEF), Archille Joseph, told Dominica News Online that his views on that matter are based on a study done in Jamaica by the late, Professor Carl Stone, which he saids “fits perfectly” in the Dominican context.

    “Our productivity level in Dominica is greatly influenced by our attitude to work,” he said, adding that low rate of technology is also a contributor.

    “But our attitude to work is the major stumbling block towards productivity improvement,” he stated.

    Joseph said citizens are not producing enough and before any productivity improvement drive is done, one has to understand the reasons for the non-productivity.

    “There’s a reason for that, you have to address the reason,” he stated.

    He stated that the Dominican society is “supportive” hence there is no motivation to work in order to survive.

    “That is a problem for us…the society is supportive, so the motivation to work to survive is not there,” he explained. “Now those same lazy fellas, you put them in the United States, they working 16 hours a day. No complain, because you know why, if you don’t work, you cannot eat. So that support system is not in the States. That I believe is one of the reasons for our bad productivity.”

    Joseph stated that the “beautiful Dominica and family support system we love” is not always good.

    “It has a negative side and that is where we are right now trying to see how we can deal with those issues so it can impact on productivity,” Joseph stated. “But those issues cannot be handled overnight.”

    He believes that it requires “a whole nation to decide” on changing the mindset on work attitude “and we are not ready for that in this country.”

    “So maybe the next generation will come up with a better way to deal with it,” Joseph said.

  2. #2
    Registered User Vye Negre is offline
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    This seems to suggest that the fact that as a society we are supportive of each other - actually acts causes us to be less productive.

    And I'm sure everyone knows someone who didn't do much home, but once in a big country, learned to hustle hard and get theirs. interesting read.

    I know this is in Dominica, but in my opinion, its a Caribbean issue as from what I have witnessed, the attitude towards work seems the same in other islands.

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    Repect Our Soca Pioneers Socapro's Avatar Socapro is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vye Negre View Post
    This seems to suggest that the fact that as a society we are supportive of each other - actually acts causes us to be less productive.

    And I'm sure everyone knows someone who didn't do much home, but once in a big country, learned to hustle hard and get theirs. interesting read.

    I know this is in Dominica, but in my opinion, its a Caribbean issue as from what I have witnessed, the attitude towards work seems the same in other islands.
    Its a negro mentality we need to get rid of, we seem to prefer to work harder for the White man than for ourselves.
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    Registered User robblaten is offline
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    What is being described here as a "Caribbean work ethic" is actually just a RURAL work ethic.

    Dominica is, from the sounds of it, a very sleepy, rural place. But be sure that as it urbanizes, the work ethic will change, as will surely change the traditional support system, which will vanish with some stressful consequences.

    I have been around the Caribbean and one pattern is clear: in productive sectors throughout the region, the work ethic matches that of international norms. The operations of the Jamaican bauxite industry, Trinidadian oil and gas industry or Atlantis here in the Bahamas are not hampered by work ethic issues. The problem is that there just is not enough in terms of successful productive sectors in much of the region.

    The issue of urbanization and modernization is complex. But of course it is more tempting and easy to grasp at the more simplistic racial stereotype.
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    Registered User Vye Negre is offline
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    Your analysis makes sense... but it raises the question. Is urbanisation such a good thing? What is being described as non-productive, based on the info above, could also simply be described as being content. It seems there is no urgent need for productiveness when compared to places where 'you wont eat' as described above.

    I mean surely it must be more beneficial to exist in a supportive society.

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    Registered User Carib2 is offline
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    What's wrong with a supportive society? Why does Dominica have to conform to the world standard of being productive, industrious and money orientated?

    Its not like people are simply not working at all, people are simply not over-working themselves and supported each other with the little money people are earning by giving it other food, right? I don't see the problem at all especially as Dominica has a small population I'm sure this isn't the case for the bigger Caribbean cities like Port of Spain, San Juan or Kingston.

    I think a Country's population influences the culture, if Dominica had a bigger population with an actual city (Roseau, is a medium sized town..) the diversification of the economy then maybe Dominicans would be more aspirational to achieve a high paying job.

    I don't think this is ''negro mentality''
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    Registered User Lappo's Avatar Lappo is offline
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    dominican people dont do very well with change....we appreciate tourists but we dont like them to stay for too long in our island. up to now look how much opposition the chinese still getting. just make sure our belly full, we safe, we get some sewo.

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    Registered User robblaten is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vye Negre View Post
    Your analysis makes sense... but it raises the question. Is urbanisation such a good thing? What is being described as non-productive, based on the info above, could also simply be described as being content. It seems there is no urgent need for productiveness when compared to places where 'you wont eat' as described above.

    I mean surely it must be more beneficial to exist in a supportive society.
    I absolutely agree that urbanisation does not necessarily mean improvement in many ways. The empty materialism is often unbalanced by support systems and communal values that have evolved over time and which add intangible contentment to human life. How to balance it is something we still need to figure out.

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    Registered User robblaten is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carib2 View Post
    What's wrong with a supportive society? Why does Dominica have to conform to the world standard of being productive, industrious and money orientated?

    Its not like people are simply not working at all, people are simply not over-working themselves and supported each other with the little money people are earning by giving it other food, right? I don't see the problem at all especially as Dominica has a small population I'm sure this isn't the case for the bigger Caribbean cities like Port of Spain, San Juan or Kingston.

    I think a Country's population influences the culture, if Dominica had a bigger population with an actual city (Roseau, is a medium sized town..) the diversification of the economy then maybe Dominicans would be more aspirational to achieve a high paying job.

    I don't think this is ''negro mentality''
    If you look at New Providence over the last century, you will see the effects of urbanisation in dramatic context. When my Grandmother (who just died in 2011) was born, this island had a population of 15,000. When my father was a child, in the 1940s and 50s it was around 50,000. In the 80s it was 135,000. Today it is 275,000. Although it is the same length as Barbados and Grenada (21 miles), the whole island is essentially a city.

    The changes brought by development are such that people of my grandmother's generation kind of drive around in a daze, literally when they go out, as if they do not recognize the place. There are material benefits, yes. But I have witnessed over my own lifetime the rapid falling away of a sense of belonging and self-worth that people in smaller, less developed communities retain. Hence the alienation and nihilism of youth today. People now LONG to get back to the out islands. Literally, last time I was in Andros I just slept for two days straight, with sweet dreams. I cannot explain the sense of contentment one gets going from here to an out island for a weekend, but any Nassauvian would immediately understand.

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    where de crix Oneshot's Avatar Oneshot is offline
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    the thing is that article is not correct. he is not talking about the entrepeneurs, he is mostly talking about low wage earners, who have little incentive to work harder.

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    Registered User robblaten is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oneshot View Post
    the thing is that article is not correct. he is not talking about the entrepeneurs, he is mostly talking about low wage earners, who have little incentive to work harder.
    But isn't that the same the world over? People on low wages have little incentive to work. What is so Caribbean about that?

    I think what makes a difference is that, in the USA, for instance (where you have people bringing home $80 dollars a week), it is impossible to live without cash, since everything from food to car payments (a necessity) cannot be met by a traditional support system, such as Dominica apparently has. My cousins in the USA work three jobs just to tread water - absolutely no thought of actually moving ahead.

    Contrast that to a place like Dominica, where traditional family and social structures reduce the need for individual exertion just to stay alive, and it is easy to see why someone there would not be motivated to flip burgers all day.

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