[EDITORIALS]View Samsung fairlyThe Samsung Group has decided to donate 800 billion won ($826 million) of the personal fortune of Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee and his family members to charity with no conditions. The company also apologized for a number of controversies it has caused recently. It also rolled out management overhaul plans that focus on enhancing independent management, creating more jobs and increasing corporate investments. Samsung took a humble position that fully accepted the opinions of citizens and civic groups on various issues facing the company. It seems the company is hoping the public’s perceptions of Samsung will become more positive.
Samsung may feel it is unfair for the public to have such negative images of it. It may have felt sorry to hear comments that the company created a “Samsung Republic” within Korea, despite the contributions it has made to the nation’s economy. But it must consider our society’s increasingly high expectations of the nation’s flagship enterprises. Honestly speaking, the criticism of the Samsung Group was largely caused by the company’s lack of communication. Even Chairman Lee Kun-hee said, “As we focused only on making world-class products amid fierce international competition, I failed to notice the organization of Samsung had become overly large and slack.”
Our society also needs to open its heart and give a fair shot to Samsung’s efforts to change itself. It is not fair to denounce Samsung for trying to assuage public criticism by giving away money. The best social contribution a company can make is creating profits, increasing investments and creating more jobs. But the volatile won-dollar rate and high oil prices give companies no choice but to launch emergency management practices. If society keeps bashing Samsung under such difficult circumstances, there will be no company that can survive here.
We think Samsung’s latest move is not an end, but a beginning. Samsung will easily find a way to coexist with the public if it succeeds in fostering good communication channels. A society that must consider public sentiment before judging whether one is right or wrong through legal measures is an unfortunate society. But such a situation is still our reality. Samsung needs to come down to the public level while the public needs to be fair in judging this global enterprise. Through such reconciliation efforts, our society will become a more developed society. I hope Samsung’s plan will bear successful fruit in the future.