Imitation Isn’t Flattery: Plagiarism in The Workplace Explained

Many people consider imitation a sincere form of flattery, but it can feel criminal. Plagiarism is presenting another persons work as your own, with or without the original authors consent, by adding it into your content without acknowledging the source. Thankfully cloud-based typing assistant Grammarly has a free plagiarism checker.

Sadly co-workers like to blur the lines between collaborating and copying. When you fail to uphold the principles of your workspace by copying the work of another colleague, you become known as somebody who cuts professional corners due to your lack of skill and initiative.

The global definition of plagiarism applies to all published and unpublished content, whether in printed or electronic form. It only takes one bad apple to negatively impact your mental health. Many people admit to working with a toxic colleague.

There are many signs of plagiarism, however the most common signs include:

  • Copying ideas from another person without giving credit or acknowledgment
  • Attempting to mislead an authoritative figure by handing in another persons work
  • Copying the structure of a sentence, while changing it slightly, without giving credit

Plagiarism can be extremely damaging to the reputation of an organisation or brand, especially if the individual who copied the content in question is known to be unskilled or unreliable. If you create content on a regular basis, don’t take the easy way out and simply copy another persons work and pass it off as your own when you don’t have the skills to compete.

The idea of plagiarism gets more complicated than just copying your colleague when it involves costing said individual an opportunity or pay rise. This level of desperation could result in a loss of earnings or even the collapse of a writers reputation.

Many visitors write to our experts and ask if plagiarism and copyright infringement are the same thing. The short answer is no. Plagiarism is, however, considered a violation of honour or ethics and can result in disciplinary action from an authoritative figure in your school or workplace.

In short, we would like to encourage our readers to have sound judgement, honesty, dependability and loyalty in the workplace. What is done in the dark will come to light.


In the dynamic world of the workplace, distinguishing between imitation and plagiarism is crucial. Plagiarism not only violates ethical principles but also has severe consequences for individuals and organisations alike. By fostering a culture of originality, proper attribution, and respect for intellectual property, we can ensure that imitation is not seen as flattery but as an opportunity for growth and innovation in the modern workplace. Remember, in the quest for success, there’s no substitute for authenticity and integrity.

4 replies
  1. Jayne Kennedy
    Jayne Kennedy says:

    I’m currently in a situation as such. Some of these people may be harmless but in my opinion, they have the capacity to be manipulative and toxic. I’m a clinician working along a younger woman name “C” who is a less experienced clinician (by 10yrs). She lacks confidence and appears insecure and unstable.

    One day, she ran to my superior crying after I had asked her if she completed a task. She lied to this individual stating that I never told her and, that I didnt spend enough time teaching her. She begged him not to share her comments but she was unaware that he and I are close friends. Of course that was odd in itself as it wasnt true. From then forward she would go through my personal belongings in my office and would purchase the exact same items. Some of the items I purchased were while I was on holiday thus, she went through a great deal of effort to find them.

    As time went by, she emulated the way I dressed, my style of writing, my hair color and even my nails. She would copy my work but then would elaborate on it making it appear as if it were her own. On one occasion she mentioned to a colleague that she didnt agree with my plan of management for my patient. That’s a big no no. As adults we address one another. In the world of medicine, we do not speak poorly regarding a clinician’s practice. Lastly, she has attempted to cover up or hide mistakes she has made regarding the care of her patients. I have anonymously reported her.

    I suspect there is a behavioral issue at play. She disclosed to me in passing that she had postpartum depression (her daughter was now 5yrs old ) and, that her therapist told her that she needs to learn to make friends. In most instances, I would have embraced her but given her behavior, I didn’t entertain the thought. I find her unsettling and weird.

    My heart goes out to these people. But be careful as, their behavior isnt necessarily innocent. I keep my distance and I remain cautious in her presence.


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