Korea (South)

The people in South Korea follow the classic power tool pattern in how frequently they use various influence techniques.  Logical persuading is most frequently used (5.81), followed by consulting, stating, socializing, and appealing to relationship.  The Korean culture is slightly more consultative than average, which means they are likely to influence by asking questions and engaging others in the solution.  Because they use this technique relatively frequently, they are likely to respond to it as well.

In Korea, traditional family relationships are highly meaningful, and Koreans are most effective at the social influence strategies:  socializing and appealing to relationship.  In fact, they are more highly rated at these two influence techniques than they are at logical persuading.  So although they use logical persuading significantly more often than the social strategies, they are more highly skilled at the influence techniques that center on connections with people.

Koreans are more inclined than most other cultures in the world to use legitimizing.  Furthermore, their rating for the organizational role power source is highest of all the cultures we studied.  This means that in Korea one’s role or position in an organization (and in family units and the society as a whole) is highly respected—one reason why they use appealing to authority more often than in other parts of the world.

Like most other Asian cultures, Korea’s rating on avoiding is well above the global norm (in fact, they rank 3rdhighest in the world on this technique).  However, their avoiding rating is highly very high because of the cultural aversion to direct confrontation and the need to save face in interactions.  For more information, see the profile on Japan.

To influence effectively in this culture, use logical persuading, but don’t neglect the social aspects of interactions in Korea.  Getting down to business without socializing first may be perceived as insensitive and countercultural.  Koreans excel at socializing, and you should take their lead at this.  Remember that they are more consultative in their approach to influence, so asking questions and engaging them in the solution is likely to be appealing.  Also, remember that their indirectness is probably not avoiding; it is their way of being polite and socially conscious.  Finally, Korea is a highly traditional culture with great respect for organizational roles and positions.  Use your own organizational role power, and show respect for theirs.


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