Korean Corporate Culture Mired in Inefficiency

  • By Shin Eun-jin

    May 15, 2018 12:05

    Korean corporate culture remains woefully inefficient due to outdated practices and top-down management, a survey by the Korea Chamber for Commerce and Industry and global consulting firm McKinsey finds.

    They surveyed 2,000 office workers and found that the country's notoriously long working hours, wasteful office meetings and pyramidal hierarchy have improved somewhat but still fail to meet global standards.

    Asked if they feel actual improvements in corporate culture, 59 percent ticked the answer, "There have been some changes but no real improvements." Another 28 percent said changes were often one-off events. Only 12.2 percent of respondents said they felt fundamental improvements.

    KCCI and McKinsey assessed Korea's top eight corporations and four of them ranked in the lowest group among multinationals worldwide. Three ranked in the middle and only one in the middle to top group. No Korean company beat its foreign rivals.

    Korean companies received high marks in terms of accountability and motivation but lagged behind in most categories, especially leadership, coordination and capabilities.

    The KCCI cited three factors that harm Korean corporate culture -- inefficient work processes, irrational performance rewards and a lack of competent leadership.

    Workers complained that changes were often purely cosmetic, and even if their boss wore jeans on Casual Friday, he kept the old domineering or niggling attitudes.

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