Swathes of MBA candidates are being rejected across this land of ours because they plagiarized their admissions essays. This article cites the “Managing Director” of Penn State’s b-school -

Many of the new cases are international applicants from East Asian countries, where borrowing from published sources without attribution is not considered wrong…

- and UD’s gotta ask: Huh? Did you just say that people in East Asian countries don’t think plagiarism is wrong? I mean, yes, people plagiarize like it’s going out of style in East Asian countries… But do you really think that means these people – who come from cultures of education Americans are supposed to envy – don’t understand the ethical implication of …

Are you sure you wanna call it ‘borrowing’?

Are they planning to return it? Are you saying they think it’s okay because they fully intend, after they use We shall fight on the beaches, to return it to Churchill?

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2 Responses to “MBArrassing”

  1. Aaron Says:

    I know specifically that in central Asian countries, the education system requires that students gather information from other authors to back up their points more so than the Western system. At times, there might be much more collated evidence than original writing.

    In many ways it makes sense because it serves two purposes: 1) it proves that authors who are well known agree with you and 2) it proves that you know these authors well enough to quote them verbatim.

    It’s done in the west with poetry all them time. You can take entire lines from Shakespeare for a poem, and no one questions it because it is obvious where it comes from.

  2. Jonathan Dresner Says:

    Yes, the definition of plagiarism is culturally constructed. It’s quite recent, too, largely a 20th century phenomenon. Pastiche writing used to be quite common in the West as well, surviving in the form of sermon-books and other “aids” to writing.

    The literary traditions of East Asia actually include pastiche writing as a recognized technique, especially in poetry where including a line (or more) from a known work creates allusions and layers of interaction. There’s a whole genre of Japanese poetic work — public competitions, mostly — which involve taking the first three lines of a famous tanka as a poetic prompt, and writing new concluding stanzas.

    And essay-writing, as taught in many East Asian secondary education systems, explicitly takes pastiche writing as a model. Is it considered original work? No, but it is considered a legitimate means of answering a question authoritatively and learning a subject. Schoolwork is not considered scholarship, at that level.

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