Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Everything Korean Vodcast: A Case Study Success Story-Kia Motors America

Welcome to this vodcast edition of Everything Korean, sponsored by Bridging Culture Worldwide and Korea Business This is your host Don Southerton Today I’d like to share a CASE STUDY success story--Kia Motors America.

As a disclaimer, the viewpoints of this vodcast are solely the opinions of Don Southerton and Bridging Culture Worldwide.

I support a number of Korea-based global organizations. Many are in the automotive sector. This is because the top Korean auto maker (Hyundai and Kia Motors) has a huge overseas operations and the auto sector requires extensive infrastructure and staffing to support their network (parts, sales, marketing, logistics, manufacturing, finance, R&D, Design, legal, and compliance with a mired of local, state and federal regulations.

Moreover, tier one vendors and suppliers are now supporting the carmaker. All together there is a need for many to better understand the mindset and corporate culture of Korea based firms like Hyundai Kia Motors.

I feel Kia Motors America (a division of the Hyundai Kia Motor Group) does a great job providing their team with support. This includes Korean culture training for new employees and ongoing Korean cross-cultural workshops for the team. For example a recent workshop we covered topics including skills for working effectively with Korean team members (jujaewon) and an update on the KORUS FTA. The FTA would eliminate the 2.5% tariff on Kia cars imported to the US.

Kia also provides ongoing support and coaching to key management and leadership. This includes Korea culture coaching to new non-Korean executives. Here we share Korea’s heritage, Kia history and corporate culture, workplace expectations, and etiquette, while providing answers to questions that surface day-to-day. We also prepare executives for their first visit to Korea and the norms for meeting with senior Korean leadership and high-level meetings at Kia Motors HQ, R&D Center, etc.

Over the year we have supported KMA Marketing teams, PR, Service, Parts, HR, and Strategic developments teams. Our support has been diverse. For example we have worked with Kia technicians competing in Kia Motors Company’s Global Automotive Technical Skills Competition in Seoul. We have also shared insights into Korean culture and workplace with local university students working as interns at KMA. One of our important roles is also supporting key vendors. They, too, need a deep understanding of Korea and its culture.

In closing the key to the success of Kia Motors America’s Korean cross cultural training has been the strong endorsement of the firms CEOs, senior American and Korean management, and the HR team. As an organization they realize that their teams need resources. Expecting employees to “ get it” without training and coaching rarely works. We’re proud to work with Kia and their team.

If you have questions on implementing a program to support your team, please feel to contact us at or call 1-310-866-3777

This is your host Don Southerton wishing you all the best.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Don. I like Kia.
    Your presentation was quite informative for me to understand Kia better in another perspective. Alex.