Monday, July 21, 2008

Everything Korean: Part 1, Supporting Korean Management Teams

In this 2-part special online edition of Everything Korean, I will look at two issues that have a strong impact on Korea-based international operations—Korean overseas teams (ju jae won) and non-Korean executive-level management.

Ju Jae Won
First, most Korean overseas subsidiaries have Korean management assigned to the host country. Whether they are senior executive level or middle management, the general term for these representative employees is ju jae won.

Executive ju jae won are usually key management—CEO, COO, or CFO. A second tier of Korean management serve as managers or coordinators. Roles vary with each company, but most often coordinators act as key liaisons between Korea and the subsidiary.

To be eligible for their first overseas assignment, most new ju jae won have worked for the company about 6-8 years. They know company procedures well. They have been successful at their jobs. And, they often were assigned to the headquarters’ overseas support teams, traveled extensively to subsidiaries and were educated outside Korea.

So where is the challenge? New ju jae won are skilled and accomplished in Korean style business operations, norms and practices. However, they have now been assigned to an overseas subsidiary, where norms, practices, expectations, and laws differ.

Moreover, their responsibilities and assignments in the subsidiary may be in a department or specialty, in which they had little or no experience in Korea.

Solution #1
Be proactive. Require new ju jae won get intensive training and coaching in management skills needed for your market, region, and subsidiary. Expecting the new ju jae won to just pick up needed skills is like throwing someone into the deep end of the pool and expecting them to swim. Support your Korean teams, provide them with training.

BTW, Most Korean executives, both in Korea and at subsidiaries, have served several times in overseas markets—some for most of their careers. Over the years as ju jae won they polished needed interpersonal and management skills, not to mention learning the subtleties of many market. I see this group needing support, but different than the new junior ju jae won.

Taking Action.
Supporting ju jae won and non-Korean executives is a must for all Korean-based organizations. This support must be more than Korean cross-cultural understanding. Mentoring and coaching is the key. Experience and skills vary, so each program must be tailored to address individual needs.

More significant, mentoring requires the Coach understand both Korean and western business, not to mention the specific Korea-based firm and the industry in general.

To conclude,
In this edition of Everything Korean, we looked at Korea overseas teams, in the next edition, I will give insights into the special needs of non-Korean executives.

BCW specializes in working with both ju jae won and non-Korean executives. We understand the challenges, pressures and expectations. We offer training that fits demanding work schedules and tight budgets. To discuss you needs, please contact BCW at
or call
skype ds19192


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