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Old-fashioned corporate culture

May 16,2018
Korean workplaces still have not broken the old cultural habit of demanding numerous time-consuming meetings and endless paperwork. According to a joint study and poll by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and global consultancy firm McKinsey, office workers gave negative reviews to improvements in corporate culture in most categories except for after-work drinking sessions.

Korea Inc. promised reforms in corporate culture after scoring poorly in the same poll two years ago, but failed to carry out their word. Some pointed to makeshift or pretentious campaigns without making any fundamental changes. Management must seriously contemplate the criticism from their employees.

One office worker said his company granted freedom in what workers could wear to work, instead of requiring suits and ties, and banned addressing bosses by their titles. But what they have today is equally domineering and all-commanding bosses in jeans. Another employee at a large company said that the office’s lights now go out after legal work hours were reduced to 52 hours per week. But workers just light up desk lamps to finish up their assignments.

The chamber pointed out that chronic late-night work was the biggest cause of weakened productivity in Korea Inc. It recommended fundamental changes in working style to strengthen corporate competitiveness and improve the lives of workers. Some companies carried out campaigns, but they only added paperwork and hassles for workers.

Korea Inc. will never be able to hone productivity to stay competitive on the global stage if it keeps the outdated working style and outmoded organization. It must come up with fundamental solutions to create real changes in workplaces.

JoongAng Ilbo, May 15, Page 30