Koreans have a strong family and clan attachment and see themselves as individually subordinate to these greater bodies.

This sublimation of the individual to the group makes them good team players – so long as they have respect for and a good relationship with the team-leader.

Thus, when working with a Korean team it is imperative to gain their respect through appearing honourable and respectful of others. Respect is also gained through educational achievement, age and experience.

If the right environment can be created, Koreans will prove wonderfully loyal team players. If, however, the environment is uncomfortable (and worst of all a place where peoples face is not protected) then groups will flounder and the team’s co-operation can be subtly withdrawn.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in South Korea

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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This country profile has been produced to give a short overview of some of the key concepts to bear in mind when doing business with contacts in South Korea. It is intended to be an aid to business people who have commercial dealings with counterparties in the country but should not be seen as an exhaustive guide to this topic or as a substitute for more substantial research should there be a need.

With this in mind, we have covered the areas which are key to a better understanding of the cultural mindset underpinning business dealings in South Korea and which are, quite often, extremely different from the approach and thought processes associated with business in other parts of the world.

Therefore this briefing note is broken into short, bite-sized sections on the following topics:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips