.. , that originated in ancient China. In many respects, the Korean people base many of their decisions on emotion, ethical social relationships, and the three qualities – love of humanity, sensitivity for feelings and justice for society rather than on sound business sense or reason (Fordham). Koreans have a great respect for the family and hierarchy, and for anyone senior in age. They will intuitively establish their hierarchical position relative to others based on age and social position (Business America, 1997). There are defined familial roles in Korea.
In the majority of Korean households, the father is the primary bread winner, while the mother stays at home. The majority of working women, many with top university degrees, are still relegated in Korean companies to secretarial jobs, assembly work positions, or educational work (Dept. of State, 1999). The eldest male of a family would be the patriarch and is revered and respected as an elder of the family. Even while a Korean is dealing with non-Korean cultures it is preferable that there be a correlation between the Korean and non-Korean representative on the hierarchical totem.
The belief system used in personal and business relationships dictates that respect and dignity be shown in all circumstances. An unwritten code of behavior exists in both informal and formal settings. Koreans are excessively hospitable people and will treat visitors with the utmost deference and kindness. Their politeness does not mean that you have won their trust and loyalty, or that you are a particularly important individual. It only means that you are also required to be polite in a similar manner. It is important to remember that the Korean Culture, and the Korean people, are a homogeneous society with strong ties to their families and country.
Whereas Americans may think in individual terms – ‘What is in my best interest?’ Koreans often think in group terms – ‘what is in the best interest of the group?’ Koreans tend to do what is good for the country rather than for themselves. Setting up a system that benefits the owners without defining benefits to the country may be difficult. Older Koreans have a difficult time understanding the concept seeing the benefits the Internet and Intranet. This will be an important consideration when communicating with Mr. Park Soon Lee. Korean Business Practices Americans should be ready to mix business with pleasure as the Koreans base their business relationships on personal ones.
The heavy drinking of the Korean alcohol, Soju, beer, or other liquor is commonplace in establishing a personal, business relationship (Dept of State, 1999). If one does not wish to consume alcohol it is advisable to attribute the decision to a medical condition or a conflict with medication. Koreans will understand and be sympathetic. Also commonplace is the ‘no-ray-bang’ where a group of businesspeople go to an establishment to drink and sing along to a video machine playing music. As most no-ray-bang machines come equipped with songs in English, a businessperson may want to be prepared to sing at least one song in order to gain social favor with their Korean counterpart (Dept of State, 1999). The exchange of business cards is a very important means by which Koreans learn about the name, position and status of the other person.
Koreans observe a very strict hierarchical code and will generally meet to discuss business with persons of the same or parallel rank. Businesspersons should always have their business card ready (preferably bilingual) and should treat the exchange of Korean counterpart’s card with respect. It is a sign of respect to receive and present items with both hands, followed by passing and receiving a card with the right hand. One should never give a card, or anything else for that matter, with the left hand as it shows disrespect (Dept of State, 1999). A man generally receives more respect and affinity in the business world than a woman, though foreign businesswomen (especially, non-Asian looking women) are accorded almost an equal amount of respect as foreign businessmen. Single women generally receive less respect than married women whose ties to their husband oftentimes establish their position in society.
The American businessperson, as a foreigner, is generally exempt from the above societal classification system, though one should be prepared to answer what may be regarded as personal, such as questions of age, marital status, religion, and education. An American businesswoman will most likely not be included in business dinners. Kibun places harmony and maintenance of good feelings as the highest order in any relationship. Your counterpart may always appear to be good-natured and friendly and will exert their full efforts in avoiding saying no or delivering bad news. As such, the foreign businessperson must learn to read between the lines or interpret hints of the slightest business difficulties.
Indeed, a ‘yes’ or nod of the head may mean ‘maybe’ or ‘I understand. A ‘maybe’ usually means ‘no’ while a negative response is sometimes indicated by a squint of the eyes or by tipping the head back while drawing air in through the teeth and waiting for you to speak again. (Fordham) Customs and Protocols A Korean has a family name and one given name. Traditionally, the given name has two parts. Koreans normally write their family name first, however, they may reverse the order when dealing with Westerners. Although women do not change their name on marriage, Mr.
Park may refer to his wife as Mrs. Park to avoid confusing Westerners. There is no general equivalent of Mr. Various respectful titles are used in the Korean language, which do not get translated into English. The English word Mr. is used in Korean only to address social inferiors, but there is no objection to foreigners using it as a term of respect in English correspondence.
It will be important to be sensitive to this particularly when dealing with the elder Park. Among themselves, Korean business people are more likely to address each other by job title. We should plan to have our people follow this protocol while in Korea. Greetings and thank-yous are very important to Koreans. Words of greeting and thanks always are said with a bow of the head.
The depth of the bow required depends upon the relative seniority of the two speakers. Koreans generally limit direct physical contact to no more than a courteous handshake. Koreans tend to avoid too much eye contact and consider it bad manners to look straight into another’s eyes while conversing (Hoare, 1996). Avoid the following topics in your conversation: Japan, local politics, socialism, communism, and your host’s wife. Among good conversational topics include Korean cultural heritage, kites, sports (especially the Olympics), and the health of their family (do not talk about their families unless these have something to do with their health). Always be modest about your position and your accomplishments (Fordham). Koreans traditionally sit, eat and sleep on the floor, so shoes are always removed when entering a Korean home.
It is impolite to talk much or blow your nose during a meal. Food is placed on the table all at once. Food need not be consumed in any order. Rice and soup are eaten with a spoon while other dishes are eaten with chopsticks. Chopsticks should not be left sticking in the food. Koreans always wait to begin eating until the eldest person begins and wait to leave the table until the eldest is finished.
(Korea Travel Manual, 1995) When dining out, Korean customs allow for either party to be the host or the guest but Dutch treat is not practiced. IV. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS SNI has the technical capability and available resources to implement the LMS PRO 1.4 Hotel Management System at Park Place Hotels in South Korea. Our success at Comfort Suites demonstrates our ability to develop, design, implement, train, and maintain such a system. The Korean project represents a significant source of revenue for SNI exceeding $1.28 million over four years.
A letter of credit from the Seoul branch of our current banker, Bank of America, will ensure that SNI is paid according to our contract. The economic unrest in Korea would prohibit implementing the system without the assurances of guaranteed payment. SNI’s biggest obstacle will be understanding and functioning under different cultural expectations. Since two of the four SNI programmers going to Korea will be women, we must be sensitive to their needs and well being. Our staff must dress in business attire (we recommend a $1,000 clothing allowance for each team member) and be willing to conduct business in a social environment that involves heavy drinking and karoke style singing.
Business and social skills, too numerous to mention in this report, must be learned and adhered to in order to ensure a successful outcome. We recommend that all SNI personnel going to Korea attend a two day finishing school sponsored by Barlitz Language School. SNI personnel are limited to stay only 90 consecutive days on a business/ tourist visa and must be rotated. The greatest risk to SNI is the political instability caused by aggressive North Korean leadership resulting from food shortages and starvation in the North. The South Korean government has made significant strides in reducing political corruption prevalent in the 80’s.
The Korean government has the full backing of the American government so the risks, although present, should be minimal. We believe this project presents a unique opportunity for SNI to expand its global presence and will likely result in additional opportunities in Korea and potentially other countries. For this reason, SNI should proceed with negotiating an agreement with Park Place Hotels for the development, installation, training, and maintenance of their Hotel Management System. APPENDIX A. CAPABILITIES OF LMS PRO 1.4 Reservations – The reservation system allows easy booking and inventory management for individuals and groups.
Room numbers and the type of suite and their availability are readily accessible. Run of the house inventory and overbooking controls are easy to use and understand and provide safeguards from embarrassing mix-ups. Registration – At registration an entire group or convention can be registered with a single command key saving individual members of the group as well as the hotel large amounts of time. Individual registration within the group is also provided. The system allows access to the data base by individual or company name, or arrival date. Application of advance deposits is automatic and posts directly to the bill on registration. Charge Posting – Daily charges are posted to each room account for individuals or to a single account as an option for groups and conventions.
All charges are transferred to the company ledger automatically with references that track back to the reservation and registration information. Guest Services – Special requests for service can be entered at the registration or reservation screen allowing the earliest recording of special customer needs. Wake-up calls are automated from the quests room or can be entered from the registration desk. Guest Settlement – The system allows for inquiry and posting by group or individual. Group check out like group check in provides for an efficient timesaving alternative. All major credit cards and after event billing in addition to cash and checks are provided as options for settlement. Housekeeping – Room status alerts the maid staff of unusual requests or scheduling needs.
On check out, housekeeping is alerted that the room is ready for service. Travel agency accounting – The reservation system can be set to allow travel agencies to search for available rooms. Access can be global. Telephone service – An automated telephone service allows callers from outside and inside the hotel to access a data base which will connect the caller to the guest by name. Voice mail as an option for quests.
Each room will be configured for internet access. Package plans – Bundled services including lodging and other travel options can be recorded into the system with automatic posting to the general ledger. Special features are noted on the screen at check in and vouchers for tickets, car rentals and other options can be mailed with the confirmation of lodging. Night audits – No shutdown is required for night audits. Charges and corrections are posted automatically to the financial system.
Hotel management reporting – Numerous created reports are available on request. A report writer is also included to allow for customized reporting options. Guest history – Special requests and account history is maintained by individual and group. This allows special needs and desires to be anticipated with repeat customers. Frequent customers can be coded with special considerations. Demographic reporting is provided as an option to assist in marketing the hotel and in meeting the needs of its customers. APPENDIX B.
FINANCIAL BREAKDOWN OF PARK PLACE HOTEL PROJECT APPENDIX C. GANDT CHART Bibliography ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY American Chamber of Commerce in Korea. (March 12, 1999). [On-line], Available: http://www.amchamkorea.org/. The American Chamber of Commerce in Korea shares frequently asked questions including information on working and investing in Korea.
Business Etiquette Around the World. (1998). Promo, VXIn(9). S4, S5, S22. This article offers general tips to offer insight into different cultures around the world when doing business abroad. Carroll, P.
& Hwang, B. (1992). Doing Business in Korea and Taiwan: Cultural and Marketing Hints. Business America, V113n(17). 8-15. Cultural and marketing hints on doing business in Korea and Taiwan.
This article shows the many differences that you may face when dealing with a foreign culture and some hints on how to deal with the differing business cultures of Korea and Taiwan. Country Commercial Guides FY 1999: Korea. (March 1, 1999) [On-line]. Available: http://www.state.gov/www/about state/busi .. om guides/1999/eastasia/korea99 nine.html This is a helpful guide on dealing with business customs, travel, and Korean culture when doing business in Korea. Dunung, S.(1995).
Doing business in Asia – the complete guide. New York: Lexington Books. Sanjyot Dunung, an expert on international business development, has written a concise, comprehensive handbook for doing business in twenty Asian countries. Fordham (February 3, 1999) Graduate School of Business MBA Pages: Doing Business in South Korea. [On-line], Available: http://www.force2020.com/MBAPages/Projects/south-k orea/sources.html These are a set of web pages that offer several tips and cultural hints to doing business in South Korea. Hoare, J.
& Pares, S. (1996). Customs and etiquette in Korea. Great Britain: Cromwell Press Ltd. This book details social, business, entertainment and other social tips when visiting Korea.
In defense of Asian values; in a Time interview, Singpore’s Lee Juan Yew reflects on China and the Asian economic crisis. (March 16, 1998). Time, v151n10. 40-41. This interview reveals the relevance of cultural in conducting business in Asia. Korea: Developments in Individual OECD Countries.
(June 1997). Economic Outlook, n61. 95. This article discusses the Korean governments fiscal policies in response to economic slowdown. Korea National Tourism Corp.’s Korea travel manual.(October 26, 1995).
Travel Weekly, v54n85. 14-22. This manual helps clients understand local culture. Kyu-Taik, S.(Winter 1998). An exploration of actions of filial piety.
Journal of Aging Studies, v12n(4). 369. This is an analysis on how social values in Asian countries can determine the role of filial piety in elderly care and how the hierarchy of the family is affected. Lee, Catherine and Timewell, Stephen. (April 1997). Caging the Korean Tiger. The Banker, v147 n854.
75. This article discusses the Korean economy crises and resulting effects on businesses. Leppert, P. (1991). Doing business with the Koreans – a handbook for executives. Sebastopol, Ca.: Patton Pacific Press.
Book stresses the importance of knowing your Korean counterpart in culture, family, politics, and business. Montagno, Ray V. (April 1996). Integrated cross-cultural business training. Journal of Management Development, v15 n4. 57. This article discusses the value of cross-cultural training to businesspersons conducting business in foreign countries. Thomas, J.
(December 1998). Contexting Koreans: Does the high/low model work? Business Communication Quarterly v61n(4). 9-22. Scholars test Korean and American business managers in an attempt to document language differences between high and low context societies. Tips, tricks and pitfalls to avoid when doing business in the tough but lucrative Korean market.(June 1997). Business America, v118n(6). 7-8. The Korean business community has acquired many western traits, however, they are still very much steeped in traditional ways and a businessperson doing business with a Korean company would do well to follow the simple suggestions outlined in this article to further understand the Korean business culture.
United States Department of State Country Commercial Guide – Korea FY 99 (February 10, 1999). [On-line], Available: http://www.state.gov/www/about state/business/com guides/1999/eastasia/korea99.html Prepared by the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Korea, this government document is a complete and up to date resource for conducting business in Korea. Van Horn, M. (1989). Pacific rim trade. New York: American Management Assoc.
This practical book is written by an author who has hands on experience setting up Pacific Rim trade. All aspects of marketing, manufacturing, and investing are covered. The world fact book. (February 28, 1999) [On-line], Available: http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/coun try.html This Central Intelligence Agency web site covers geography, people, government, economy, communications, transportation, and military issues of South Korea. Woo Gon Kim, Hyan Ju Shin and Kye-Sung Chon. (February 1998).
Korea’s lodging industry: problems, profitability and regulations. Cornell Hotel & Restaurant Administration Quarterly, v39. 60-68. This study discusses the Korean hotel industry’s significant issues including room supply, complications of regulation, and hindrances to expansion. Business Reports.