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Organizing and Managing Work

Business – The Would Be Pioneer

Linda Myers was an American female executive who was employed by the South
Koreans SK Telecoms as a human resource manager in charge of the change process in the
management level. Given the new requirements that the company and the job demanded she had
to move to Seoul where the head office of the company was located. After working for several
years as a consultant on expatriate transitions and change management, Linda Myers expected
her stay at SK Telecoms to be exciting and a little challenging but what she encountered was
much more than she had predicted.
The major problem was her inadequate communication skills in Korean language and her
inability to communicate effectively as she had to use an interpreter. The other issue was the
difference in her American culture and her employer’s Korean culture.
First as the first female executive from the US in the company’s top management position
meant that she had to use a translator to communicate to the rest of the board members. The
company never provided an official orientation period for Linda Myers and she had to struggle
on her own to learn about the organization’s system of operations. Her straightforwardness and
outspokenness that is typical with most Americans never augured well with the Koreans polite

Business – The Would Be Pioneer 2
formalities and she was mostly considered as disrespectful and in some cases as being rude.
After two years her excitements gave way to disillusionment and exhaustion when she realised
that her dream of changing SK telecoms would never be achieved and instead she felt isolated
and marginalized.
Understanding Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions of workplace values include the
Power and Distance (PD)
Refers to the level of inequality that exist and which has apparently been accepted by all
the people who have or doesn’t the power to change it. A PD that’s high shows indicates that the
people in that society have largely accepted that the unequal distribution in the system is there to
stay and they have to take their rightful place with or without it. The Korean culture has come to
accept that asking too many questions may be perceived to be disrespectful to the management
and other powerful people. A high PD is associated with Strong hierarchies and large disparities
in compensation authority. A low PD exists in organizations that exercise democracy at work
place where all the employees have equal rights to be heard and also to be treated equally like in
the US.
Individualism (IDV)
This is the strength of ties that joins all people in a particular society. A high IDV indicates that
the ties are loose and lack interpersonal connection and responsibilities are not equally shared
while a low IDV indicates that the ties are strong and the cohesion among the staff is also strong.
The Korean SK Telecoms had a high IDV meaning that Linda Myers lacked the cohesion that

Business – The Would Be Pioneer 3
was needed for her to smoothly connect with the other Korean employees. This connection was
made difficult by the differences in languages and also cultures. The Korean work environment
does not encourage debate free expression of ideas and suppress feelings and emotions that’s
required for a harmonious work environment and instead they respect their own traditions and
introduce change at a very slow rate. (Hofstede, Hofstede and Minkov, 2010)
Masculinity (MAS)
MAS indicate the level that the society is willing to stick with traditional male and female values
relating to their traditional roles. A high MAS indicates a society that promotes the traditional
values that men must show masculinity in terms of assertiveness and must seen as the provider
and also as tough as in the Korean culture. A low MAS does not actually reverse the roles but it
blurs them so that there is no defined role for women and men like in the American system.
Women just as men are treated equally. According to the analysis carried out by Hofstede’s,
Japan leads the score in MAS at 95% while Sweden is the least at 5%. In Japan, the rate of
success will depend on the gender that’s to register great success than men would be in a better
position while in Sweden a mix of the two genders has greater rates of success that male
dominated leadership. Korean has a MAS that’s close to Japan while the US can be compared to
Uncertainty and Avoidance Index (UAI)
It refers to the rate or level of anxiety or uncertainty that members in the society feel when
confronted with unknown or uncertain situations. A high UAI indicates a society that works hard
to avoid situations that are ambiguous as much as possible. While Low UAI indicates a society
that actually enjoys the challenges and discovering new ideas and other modern discoveries.

Business – The Would Be Pioneer 4
Linda Myers comes from such a background and such challenges are the reasons she agreed to
travel to Seoul to discover more about the Korean culture and their systems. But the Koreans
back ground are actually to avoid new ideas.
Long Term Orientation (LTO)
It indicates the way the society values short and long-standing traditions and also values. It’s a
link to Confucian philosophy that applies differently in western cultures than in Asian countries
that Hofstede added in the 1990s. A high LTO indicates that social obligation and avoiding
culture embarrassments are considered highly in that society. A low LTO suggests that creative
expressions in terms of culture are considered highly like in the US and the UK. These societies
are not hesitant to introduce progressive changes that are necessary in their society. Unlike the
Korean society that would maintain their cultures to avoid embarrassment that may be
occasioned by such changes notwithstanding whether the changes are positive or negative.
The recommendations that Myers would have made to the management in the Korean
environment are;
Encourage Cultural Diversity
Linda Myers would have taken her time to introduce changes that would have encouraged the
management to make changes to accommodate foreign nationals in the global market. As
globalization is take effect all over the world and the advent of modern communication system,
the SK Telecom would require staff in most parts of the world. The need to accommodate other
cultures around the world would be a prerequisite for faster and strategic growth. (Crookall &
Schachter, 2004)

Business – The Would Be Pioneer 5
Introduce Orientation Programs and Communication Strategy
Linda Myers should have insisted on setting up orientation programs that would assist incoming
foreign workers to fit in the Korean environment and not to undergo the same difficulties she
went through. These would reduce the language and communication frustration that foreigners
experience while in foreign postings. (Watson, 2006)
Create Organization Culture
Organization culture would track changes that are important and also to assess whether some
cultures have become dominant in terms of cultural practices that would ultimately affect the
employee’s production levels and also the company’s efficiencies. Such issues have to be
addressed and the underlining assumptions rectified. (Schein, 2004)
To conclude, Linda Myers American background did not work well with the Korean culture. Her
straightforwardness was misconstrued to be disrespectful and her ambitious nature led to other
fears in the management circles. Eventually she could not fit in the system when the management
deliberately started to frustrate her.

Business – The Would Be Pioneer 6

Crookall, P. and H. Schachter (2004) Changing Management Culture Report (2004), Canada:
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat,

Hofstede, G. Hofstede, J. and Minkov, M. (2010) Cultures and Organizations: Software of the
Mind, 3rd Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Schein, E.H. (2004) Organizational Culture and Leadership, Third edition, San Francisco:
Watson, T.J. (2006) Organizing and Managing Work, UK: Pearson Education Limited.

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