- South Korean girls and boys in traditional dresses bow
South Korea is a country where you can experience different ways of people interaction. You can most likely see the difference in Korea between tourist and citizen. Certain people will have a very nice approach and a good behaviour towards you where as another part will give you the complete opposite in the eyes of South Korean people.
When it comes to power distance, South Korea scores quite high. You can think of hierarchy in this matter. In South Korea people accept the fact that society is set up in a hierarchal way. This means that people don’t mind the fact that there is some sort of order within a company and this results in a certain distance in power between people. For a foreigner this can be seen as unusual when having a business meeting. This forces people to adjust their behaviour in such a way that it is accepted by the culture.
In a business there are people with different positions. In this situation the power distance is very well seen. The boss of a company has more rights and power to delegate than other people in that business. When someone isn’t doing his or her job as he or she is supposed to do, a boss in South Korea is allowed to say something about it. But an employer is not allowed to speak in such a way to his or her boss. They just have to obey. They shouldn’t question anything or refuse to do something.
Time is quite an important factor in South Korea, it’s a part of the country’s etiquette. For business people in South Korea punctuality is a form of respect. It is important to be on time when an appointment is scheduled. People in South Korea consider it being rude when you are not on time on the agreed place. If there is a chance you might be late, the Korean people find it polite to give them a call.
Different cultures also have different signs and expressions. Eye contact and bowing are also important parts of this culture. When meeting for the first time, it is required to behave in a certain way, for example bowing slightly when you get introduced to each other. To address a person, it is respectful to call this person by his or her title followed by the family name. Addressing a person by his first name will not be done until there is a certain relationship between the two colleagues. To be completely sure about the right time to address a person like this, wait until he or she makes the first attempt. This is a safe way to not address someone in a wrong way if they don’t want that.