Goal 2. To develop competence in language, business protocol, social relationships, and respect for other cultures

When spending time with my partner I have learned that it would be very hard to conduct business with such a large language barrier. It would be very important to have a translator to be able to work successfully. Koreans follow Confucian beliefs which emphasize respect for education, authorities and those who are older. This is important to know when conducting business because how you act in a business or social setting needs to be based on these traditions. Because of the confucian beliefs they usually will establish hierarchical relationships based upon the age, position, status and educational background of other people relative to themselves. So if they ask questions that might seem personal it is just to get an idea of how you are ranked compared to them.

Koreans usually keep a very busy schedule so it is important to arrive on time to meetings. It is also common to build business relationships outside of work at social gatherings that involve drinking and eating. I asked my partner about this and she said that this is true. She said that sometimes a boss will hold a social gathering after work and it is considered mandatory to attend. Lastly, Koreans usually bowing to those senior to them as a form of greeting and to show respect. The junior person initiates the bow. But an American can offer a handshake and that would be fine.

It was difficult to find a job description for Korea but when talking to my partner she said some of the most popular jobs would be a teacher for women and a businessman for men.  In Korea education is taken a lot more seriously and is much more strict and structured then in the U.S. Therefore I think that teachers in Korea would face less problem children because if a child was disobedient that would reflect badly on their family and would be shameful. As for business in Korea according to World Business Culture.com major Korean companies are still run along regimented, hierarchical lines and ‘face’ is of greater importance than in almost any other country in Asia. This would be something that an American businessman would have to get used to. I found it different that she considered those two jobs to be the most popular. I think that in the U.S. there is not one job that is the most popular for women and men. I think that there are so many different ranges of jobs in the U.S.

In Korea family always comes first and it very important. According to kwintessential Koreans have a system of behaviors and ethics that stress the obligations of people towards one another based upon their relationship. Their five different relationships include 1) ruler and subject, 2) husband and wife, 3) parents and children, 4)brothers and sisters and 5) friend and friend. Also, the eldest son has special duties: first to his parents, then to his brothers from older to younger, then to his sons, then to his wife, and lastly to his daughters. This type of formality in family is new to me. Americans really don’t follow any of those traditions. Also I think that we don’t respect our elders as much as they do. My partner didn’t have much to say on this but I think they would be surprised how little respect some people give to family members or people who are older.

Resources:

http://www.tradecommissioner.gc.ca/eng/document.jsp?did=87892&cid=517&oid=242

http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/south-korea-country-profile.html

http://www.worldbusinessculture.com/Business-in-South-Korea.html

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