A commentary on Korean global business and popular culture.
Saturday, October 06, 2018
Weekend Read--Decisions, Process and Expectations
As one delves deeper into Korea facing work what stands out is the “innerconnectiveness” of the workplace.
This relationship impacts day to day business interactions such as decisions, timelines, and process.
To share some background, Author Richard Nisbett describes the concept well in The Geography of Thought:
To the Westerner, it makes sense to speak of a person as having attributes that are independent of circumstances or particular personal relations.
This self— this bounded, impermeable free agent—can move from group to group and setting to setting without significant alteration.
But for the Easterner (and for many other peoples to one degree or another), the person is connected, fluid, and conditional...
The person participates in a set of relationships that make it possible to act and purely independent behavior is usually not possible or really even desirable.
Since all action is in concert with others, or at the very least affects others, harmony in relationships becomes a chief goal of social life.
As an example, in Korea, decisions must consider relationships both internal and external and the impact to the organization.
To share from a global project in which I was engaged, a meeting concluded following a high level presentation to division heads with the Korean leadership pleased, but deferring next steps until they “internally discussed.”
To the dismay of highly engaged Korean project team leads I was working within the days that followed assignments for key portions of the project were distributed to a number of other departments.
In private the project's lead team was not pleased but accepted the mandate. There was no recourse since the parceling came from leadership. The lead team did not wish to create an issue despite knowing that the other teams with only domestic Korea experience were poorly equipped to handle the high profile global assignment.
Following the cultural norm, the lead team accepted the situation and sought to maintain organizational harmony above all—even knowing their project and even their own careers might suffer.
Again, the takeaway is in Korea facing work, many factors come into play…and one needs to take a cultural approach recognizing what may be a western norm and expectation can differs in other global markets.
As always I look to support you and your teams as issues’ surface. Situations vary and so do what may be the better approach.