Contempt for local businesses grew, says survey

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Contempt for local businesses grew, says survey

Koreans’ attitudes toward business soured in the latter half of last year, according to a survey by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and the Hyundai Research Institute.

In the telephone survey, 1,002 people gave an average score of 49.8 out of 100 to grade Korea’s business sector. A grade of 100 would have meant the respondents were happy with the sector’s contribution to society and supported their work. A lower grade shows less satisfaction and support.

The 49.8 score was the lowest in four years. The score peaked at 54 in the first half of 2010 when the economy was recovering from the global financial crisis, according to the KCCI.

KCCI releases the survey conducted with the Hyundai Research Institute twice a year. It looks at five different categories: global competitiveness; technological advancement and productivity; social responsibility; ethical management; and contribution to the local economy.

“It has been hard [for companies] to find the momentum to push their grades up due to the continuing talk about ‘economic democratization’ since late last year, which made people feel less friendly about companies in general,” said the KCCI in a release.

Almost half of the respondents said companies lacked ethics in business management, and almost a quarter said they don’t cooperate with other companies, such as their suppliers.

While respondents rated the companies well for their global power, technology, productivity and giving a momentum to the local economy, they were skeptical about managements as a whole. Others said the companies don’t contribute enough to social work or job creation.

Almost 65 percent said antagonism toward business is high. They said companies focus more on gaining profit than returning wealth to society.

“As Korea’s economy expands, people have had higher expectations of businesses,” said Jeon Su-bong, a director at KCCI’s investigation team. “People will show a better attitude when companies take more initiatives to create jobs and serve society.”

By Lee Sun-min []
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