Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Dignity of Labor

South Korea is infamous for a workplace culture of "gapjil," where superiors routinely abuse those beneath them.  In fact, Korea Air has had two recent incidents of the daughters of the C.E.O throwing tantrums, and in one case threatening the safety on an entire plane-load of passengers.

So are things changing?  Possibly:
"Although very few think drastic measures like altering the corporate name will occur, the latest incident has stimulated debate within public circles, the business community and lawmakers on ways to combat gapjil. Proposed actions even encompass revising policies and laws.
Following the nut rage scandal, a lawmaker pushed forward a bill proposing a ban on members of chaebol families working at the companies they control for a set period of time if convicted of a crime.
Experts say reform measures by chaebol and deep reflection by those in positions to exercise control over others are the most important steps that need to be taken toward a more equal society. They advocate a two-pronged approach that addresses society’s demand for change to the distorted ownership structure of major conglomerates, where managerial powers are concentrated in the hands of a few owners, while at the same time generating social consensus to highlight the problems associated with gapjil that are hurting the competitiveness of the country as a whole and tarnishing the image of Korean businesses at home and abroad."
True fact: one of the reasons I'm still in Korea after so long is that my boss did his Ph.D. in America and "gets" the major differences between Korean and American work culture.  I'm very lucky for this, given the realities of how most foreign workers are treated by Korean bosses.

No comments:

Post a Comment