Cross –cultural issues in South Korea
Personal relationships are very important to develop and maintain a smooth business operation in Korea. When doing business with Korea a personal relationship is always through introduction and connection never through cold calling. As Neal Goodman, President of Global Dynamic states, the overriding issue in doing business in Korea is always developing and maintaining good interpersonal relationships, and finding the right way to show respect. Newcomers should be particularly sensitive to the class, status, age and education of those with whom they interact, as these factors determine the level of respect an individual is due. Ignoring status and hierarchy could not only damage the personal relationships that one has developed, but also ruin business opportunities. Koreans attach great importance to group harmony and loyalty. Creating a strong sense of belonging drives and motivates Korean workers. The Korean company functions as more than merely a workplace; rather, it acts like a second family. Employers feel a sense of responsibility and caring for their workers and try to ensure that the basic needs of the employee’s family are met. Korean employees are expected to dedicate themselves not only to their work, but also to the success and the well-being of their company. While there is no guarantee of lifetime employment, Koreans generally do not approve of job-hopping. Employees are indoctrinated through extensive initial orientation programs that last from two to five months and include learning the company song, philosophy, protocols, values and mission. While practical skills are also taught, the training emphasizes the importance of dedication, loyalty, team and spirit. The general consensus in Korea is that a dedicated employee can always learn job skills, and thus loyalty, teamwork, and commitment to the corporate philosophy should function as the priorities of the training. Company sports events, recreational...
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