Down testing? Ah, yea … That’s been my entire Taiwan experience. OK, I can admit that things are not as sweat-shop and dire as the article here in Taiwan, the the principle remains the same.
As a rule, Asian owners of capital (laobans) try to employ and/or create environments where the employee doesn’t have to think. “A thinking employee is a dangerous employee.” The boss does all the thinking. Although not as severe in some Asian cultures specifically, it is painfully obvious here.
Creativity, although sought after in word, is not valued … and not only not valued, but also feared by the boss. “A creative employee is a dangerous employee.” Thinking and creative employess only have one ambition in Taiwan: to be their own boss (at least from the perspective of the traditional laoban).
And indeed, this is why you so often see the soap-opera-ish life of small and medium sized companies with employees suddenly leaving the company, trying to steal the cusotmers of the boss and set up a compeiting factory, shop or stall directly across the street.
Thus, “creativity” is seen as an ingredient for disloyalty, disloyalty ticking like a time-bomb. Some say creativity and problem-solving could be indications of one’s pride in his or her work … but I don’t buy it. I’ve worked in too many Taiwanese companies to believe that creativity is a virtue here. Economically speaking, creativity just isn’t a commodity. The only kind of creativity that is valued is the “Smart Chinese” variety where you stealthly steal your next door neighbor’s idea for your own. And this is therefore, why few invest in creativity. There are few economic returns to creative investment that isn’t about siphoning off the ideas, plans, customers or products of your boss.
Therefore, YES, I too would also screen people out if I were hiring. I simply couldn’t trust thinking people here. I’d have to watch them and control information too much. That would waste my time. I’d be better served hiring a few than can think that I can supervise, and a host of other unambitious people.