Origin of the concept
The origin of this concept can be traced to a fable, perhaps apocryphal. It is said that long ago, sailors carried sardines in a water tank to the port of Norway. Some of these fish would die in the tank before reaching the shore. One sailor devised a unique strategy— he kept a catfish in the same tank. The sardines stayed active during the entire journey for fear of being eaten by the catfish. Their constant activity kept them alive, till the sailor reached the port. In this case, the sailor got a better price for his catch.
In the context of human resource management, the sardines and catfish can be equated to active and inactive employees with the following characteristics: –
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