Diplomats learn how to be paternal and quickThe Kotra Academy, a learning center set up by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, offered a seminar last week to representatives from more than 30 countries, including ambassadors and counselors from Germany, France and others. The course was a chance for diplomats to learn about Korean business customs.
The three-section course focused on traditions, values and business conduct. Kang Young-soo, director of the Kotra Academy, who led the lectures, delivered a brief history of Korea. During the second part of the course, the director described Confucianism and its role in Korean thinking. Korean relationships, not just in families, but also at work and other organizations, have a vertical structure, said the lecturer. Mr. Kang claimed that foreign managers must understand that the idea of paterfamilias still remains and that employees often demand their bosses should act like a father.
Since working Koreans tend to multi-task and are quick when doing business, the director said, “Any foreigner that had a chance to work with Koreans, will know the Korean expression pali pali.” Mr. Kang also told the representatives not to give a direct rejection or disapproval. “Try not to say ‘No’ right in front of the person.”
by Hwang Young-jin