The following was extracted from a recent interview with me about how to thrive in a Korean company.
“Every company in every culture has office politics. Tell me what’s unique about office politics in Korean companies.”
“Because of the top-down orientation of Korean companies, your boss will often be constrained in the ways he can guide you in your work. You often won’t be aware of what’s going on here and Korean organizations are not known for their clear and well-explained communications with non-Korean employees.
This is true whether you’re working for a Korean company overseas or in Korea and the problems are compounded by language and culture.
Try hard to leverage your understanding of Korean business culture to connect with those around you — particularly, those at a higher level — and discuss your frustrations and challenges with those that you build trusting relationships with. You’ll find that Koreans overseas are often homesick and they will appreciate and respect your efforts to do business and communicate with them in their way.
I remember that when I first started working at my position in the LG Group many years ago, I experienced a great deal of uncertainty about how my role was being perceived. It was only after I established a friendship with a general manager in a different department than mine that I was able to make sense of things that had bothered me before and gain a new sense of stability that ended up lasting for nearly five years.”