Managing in South Korea
Follow the Traditions and Customs of This Culturally-Rich Nation
From fast-paced, high-tech cities to beautiful tranquil mountains and national parks, South Korea is filled with opportunities for both tourists and business visitors. Its historical traditions contrast with its modern social scene, and its particular fondness for karaoke.
The country's rich culture makes for a terrific place to live, work and play. Manners, hierarchy and ceremony all form an intrinsic part of that culture, and they need to be respected if you are to be successful there.
In this article, we will explore the etiquette that you will need to follow to socialize and work successfully with your new South Korean team.
Welcome to South Korea
As its name suggests, South Korea sits below its neighbour, North Korea. It is a peninsula with the Yellow Sea to the west and the Sea of Japan to the east. It is separated from nearby Japan by the Korea Strait. It is Asia's third-largest economy – behind China and Japan – and the 11th largest globally. The country boasts a booming technology industry, has the fastest broadband in the world, and is home to several big global brands, including Samsung, LG and Hyundai. Its capital city, Seoul, is a hub for business and commerce, and is home to 10 million people – a fifth of South Korea's total population.
South Korea has no official religion, but many citizens follow the philosophical teachings of Confucianism, which encourages social and familial harmony.
Since the end of the Korean war in 1953, political tensions have remained high between South and North Korea. There are nationwide civil emergency exercises several times a year, and your organization will likely have an emergency plan in place in the event of a crisis.