Monday, September 28, 2009

Thought of the Day: Korean Global Business # 26

Day 26
Another observation of the Korean workplace is hierarchy. Rooted in Korea's Neo Confucian past, social stratification is very apparent in many of Korea's top companies. The military regimes of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s added to this old model.

One observation is high Power Distance, a term used in cross-cultural studies to note a conspicuous disparity or difference between senior management and teams. A number of workplace norms dictate (with lots of protocols) interaction between the teams and senior management. Essentially teams prepare reports and data for senior management to review, await approval for the executives, then implement.

This top down management style works well in Korea, but as the nation has expanded globally, firms need to adapt to regionally norms. For example, local teams used to Low Power Distance norms in much of North American and Europe find Korea's top down management style a challenge.

Coping and understanding Korean workplace norms can be a challenge. BCW can assist and provide you and your teams with training and skills. Knowledge is power. Education is a solution.

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