Challenges for Foreign Manager in South Korea

2170 Words Apr 30th, 2011 9 Pages
University of Maryland University College
AMBA 620

Introduction & Background

To put it mildly the cultural differences between the United States and South Korea are vast. South Korean culture according to Javidan, Dorfman, Sully de Luque and House (2006) is similar to Chinese culture in that it is rich in tradition and heavily influenced by Confucian values. The values of Confucianism funnel down to everything from family life to corporate life. Javidan et al. (2006) details that Confucianism “emphasizes the importance of relationships and community” (p. 83). Park, Rehg, and Lee (2005) mention that in South Korean culture it is important behave in an honorable, trustworthy, and respectable fashion as these attributes are all
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The dimension known as “Institutional Collectivism” shows how a culture practices rewards and encouragement. Javidan et al. (2006) explain that South Koreans thrive off of teamwork and group reward unlike other countries such as the United States, which favors a more individualistic system (p. 70). Of all the cultures studied as part of Project GLOBE, South Korea ranked highest in their need of a group reward system. This information will help me establish a reward system that will satisfy the need that the employees require in South Korea.
An additional factor that Javidan, et al. (2006, p. 70) raises is “Uncertainty Avoidance” which can be characterized as a “tolerance for uncertainty” (Hofstede™ Cultural Dimensions, n.d.). According to Hostede’s scale, South Koreans do not like change and thrive off of order and use structure to minimize uncertainties (Hofstede™ Cultural Dimensions, n.d.). This leads me to question, “how they will handle a new foreign manager?” especially a woman manager.
Culture Shock One of the biggest culture shocks for me will be the move itself. Relocating my family, getting a new home, learning the language are all obstacles I will have to overcome. My cultural orientation training will help, but a new job is always a bit overwhelming at first not to mention tackling a foreign grocery store. Another challenge will be adapting to the

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