Everything Korea, September 19 Episode, Sub-cultures Matter

Don Southerton, Founder and CEO
Bridging Culture Worldwide

As many of you know, I work between Korean affiliates and companies. What stands out is how sub-cultures vary even within the same Group. Perhaps moving among affiliates sometimes in a single day, I see and experience the subtle differences more than most. This can range from the tangibles like building design, workspace layout, dress code and amenities to intangibles such as what one can sense in day to day employee engagement, morale and comradery.

In fact, there are sub cultural differences:

1) in Korea between divisions and affiliates, 2) with Korea and their own overseas divisions and 3) as I noted between the local overseas affiliates.

So, sub-cultures do matter.

Digging deeper, I feel recognizing what is common between the companies’ counts, too. This can include intrinsic Group values and norms shared across the organization, or even more common general Korean business practices and expectations.

To add to the complexity, often the local sub-culture of an affiliate has evolved over time, and very independent of the mother organization in Korea. BTW We’re seeing as Korean Groups have expanded their global organizations into many markets there has been greater effort to now align the overseas operations with the HQ corporate culture. (I’ll provide some more on this in one of my next Vodcast)…

This means when a Korea related issue surfaces in local operations we have to look at with several colored lenses. Candidly, that how I pull apart situations and provide a solid work-through when supporting clients as a mentor and their Korea business strategist.

Learn More

Have a question or want to learn more about how I support and mentor clients? My personal assistant Stacey at stacey@koreabcw.com can coordinate a time for us to chat by phone, meet or handle by email.