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Increasing the Chances of 
Success for USA and South 
Korea Partnerships 
Catherine Mercer Bing 
Managing Director, 
ITAP ...
Going Global Can Lead to Failure 
• “Companies spend more than $2 trillion on 
acquisitions every year. Yet study after 
s...
Differences That Could Derail the 
Partnership 
• Areas of difference that could derail a 
partnership: 
1. Attitudes towa...
1. Attitudes Toward People Who Are 
Different 
• Koreans tend to judge individuals who do 
not conform to group norms – fo...
2. Gender and Travel Oversees 
• “Korean firms have a stronger preference 
for sending men on business trips and 
more ove...
3. Hiring and Promotion 
• “..informal networks figure more 
predominantly into hiring and promotion at 
Korean firms” tha...
4. Communication 
US American Korean 
Impersonal – act as own agent – will move 
on when business does not serve his/her 
...
5. Attitudes about Conflict 
• “[in collectivist cultures]… Conflicts should 
be avoided or at least formulated so as 
not...
Framework for Discovering 
Similarities and Differences 
• To bridge gaps between USA and South Korea, 
businesses need a ...
Hofstede’s Framework 
• Endorsed by Hofstede, ITAP offers tools that 
help companies visualize commonalities and 
differen...
Individualism… 
…the degree to which action is taken for 
the benefit of the individual or the group. 
INDIVIDUAL ORIENTAT...
46 
USA United Kingdom Germany Japan South Korea 
©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 12 
INDIVIDUALISM 
G...
Individual Orientation vs. 
Group Orientation 
When working with, 
managing or working for 
those who have an 
Individual ...
Power Distance… 
…the degree to which inequality or distance 
between those in charge and the less 
powerful (subordinates...
POWER DISTANCE 
Hierarchical Orientation versus Participative Orientation 
HIERARCHICAL STYLE 
South Korea Japan USA Germa...
Hierarchical Orientation vs. 
Participative Orientation 
16 
When working with, 
managing or working for 
those who have a...
Certainty… 
…the extent to which people prefer rules, 
regulations and controls or are more 
comfortable with unstructured...
Need for Certainty versus Tolerance for Ambiguity 
85 
STRUCTURE/RULES 
CERTAINTY 
65 
46 
35 
©2014 ITAP International, I...
Need for Certainty vs. 
Tolerance for Ambiguity 
When working with, managing or 
working for those who have a 
Need for Ce...
Achievement… 
…the degree to which we focus on goal 
achievement and work or quality of life 
and caring for others 
ACHIE...
21 
ACHIEVEMENT 
Achievement Orientation versus Quality of Life Orientation 
95 
66 66 
39 
62 
100 
90 
80 
70 
60 
50 
4...
Achievement Orientation vs. 
Quality of Life Orientation 
When working with, 
managing or working for 
those who have an 
...
Time Orientation… 
…the extent to which members of a society are 
prepared to adapt themselves to reach a desirable 
futur...
24 
TIME ORIENTATION 
Long-Term Orientation versus Short-Term Orientation 
100 
83 
26 
88 
51 
100 
90 
80 
70 
60 
50 
4...
Long-Term Orientation vs. 
Short-Term Orientation 
25 
When working with, 
managing or working for 
those who have a Long-...
ITAP’s Assessment of Cultural 
Differences 
• The Culture in the Workplace 
QuestionnaireTM (CWQ) enables USA and 
Korean ...
If you were from a Korean company (see the scores 
for Korea) and were considering acquiring a US 
American company Compar...
Catherine Mercer Bing 
Managing Director 
ITAP Americas 
The Atrium at Newtown 
353 Nassau Street, 1st floor 
Princeton, N...
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Increasing the Chances of Success for USA and South Korea Partnerships

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Mergers and acquisitions have a high rate of failure.
Areas of difference that could derail a business partnership:
- Attitudes toward people who are different
- Gender and travel overseas
- Hiring and promotion
- Communication
- Attitudes toward conflict
This ppt highlights the main differences between South Korea and the USA as captured by Geert Hofstede's framework.
ITAP helps companies strengthen their partnerships by diagnosing and bridging their differences (e.g. culture, function, language).

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Increasing the Chances of Success for USA and South Korea Partnerships

  1. 1. Increasing the Chances of Success for USA and South Korea Partnerships Catherine Mercer Bing Managing Director, ITAP Americas, Inc. (w) 1.215.860.5640 http://www.itapintl.com ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 1
  2. 2. Going Global Can Lead to Failure • “Companies spend more than $2 trillion on acquisitions every year. Yet study after study puts the failure rate of mergers and acquisitions somewhere between 70% and 90%.” SOURCE: Christensen et al. “The Big Idea: The New M&A Playbook,” Harvard Business Review, March 2011 ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 2
  3. 3. Differences That Could Derail the Partnership • Areas of difference that could derail a partnership: 1. Attitudes toward people who are different 2. Gender and travel overseas 3. Hiring and promotion 4. Communication 5. Attitudes toward conflict ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 3
  4. 4. 1. Attitudes Toward People Who Are Different • Koreans tend to judge individuals who do not conform to group norms – for example, who are vegetarian or exceptionally curious — more harshly than US Americans. • Non-conformists are perceived as selfish. SOURCE: Kinias et al. “Standing out as a Signal to Selfishness: Culture and Devaluation of Non-normative Characteristics,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 124:2:190-203 July 2014. ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 4
  5. 5. 2. Gender and Travel Oversees • “Korean firms have a stronger preference for sending men on business trips and more overall discriminatory atmospheres than foreign firms.” SOURCE: Gress et al. “Differential Spaces in Korean Places? Feminist Geography and Female Managers in South Korea,” Gender, Work & Organization, 21:2:165 – 186. March 2014 ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 5
  6. 6. 3. Hiring and Promotion • “..informal networks figure more predominantly into hiring and promotion at Korean firms” than at foreign firms doing business in Korea. SOURCE: Gress et al. “Differential Spaces in Korean Places? Feminist Geography and Female Managers in South Korea,” Gender, Work & Organization, 21:2:165 – 186. March 2014 ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 6
  7. 7. 4. Communication US American Korean Impersonal – act as own agent – will move on when business does not serve his/her needs or when a better opportunity arises. Focus Relationship to Business Personal – a department is a cohesive unit. Employees have strong tendency to remain with the company even in times of trouble. Need to be liked – expressed through informal address and gestures. Personal Need Need to be liked. “Let their hair down” only in an informal non-business setting. Short term – largely informal – many procedures changed or modified while in progress. Based on accomplishment and image – underlying drive toward equality. Orientation to Corporate Status Short term – if the upper management changes, new rules may need to be learned. Based on education and credentials – underlying drive toward hierarchy. Assertive, tempered with fair play - give the benefit of doubt or handicap. Confrontation Assertive to subordinates. Discussion about sports, weather, occupation, what you do, what you feel about someone. Common Social Interaction Discussion about sports, weather, occupations, technological advancements. Written by Sullae Shoe, resource expert, ITAP International, Inc. ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 7
  8. 8. 5. Attitudes about Conflict • “[in collectivist cultures]… Conflicts should be avoided or at least formulated so as not to hurt anyone.” • Maintaining harmony is a virtue. SOURCE: Hofstede, et al., Culture and Organizations: Software of the Mind, p.118. 2001 ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 8
  9. 9. Framework for Discovering Similarities and Differences • To bridge gaps between USA and South Korea, businesses need a neutral, non-judgmental framework. • Geert Hofstede’s research offers a framework for bridging differences. • The Wall Street Journal ranked Hofstede as the 16th most influential business thinker. SOURCE: http://wingedspur01.wordpress.com/2008/08/15/the-top-21-most-influential-business-©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 9
  10. 10. Hofstede’s Framework • Endorsed by Hofstede, ITAP offers tools that help companies visualize commonalities and differences. • ITAP licenses from Hofstede a tool that assesses five cultural values, known as dimensions. • See the differences between the country scores of the USA and South Korea… ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 10
  11. 11. Individualism… …the degree to which action is taken for the benefit of the individual or the group. INDIVIDUAL ORIENTATION GROUP ORIENTATION Look out for #1. If you want something done right, do it yourself. Two heads are better than one. Many hands make light work. ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  12. 12. 46 USA United Kingdom Germany Japan South Korea ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 12 INDIVIDUALISM GROUP INDIVIDUALISM Individual Orientation versus Group Orientation 91 89 67 18 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Individualism Country Score Sample Question: The pursuit of individual goals is more important than maintaining harmony and consensus in the workplace.
  13. 13. Individual Orientation vs. Group Orientation When working with, managing or working for those who have an Individual Orientation:  Appeal to their self-interest. Focus on how the results will be good for them  Allow individual work and competition between individuals  Delegate to individuals When working with, managing or working for with those who have a Group Orientation:  Appeal to the common interest. Focus on how the results will be good for the group  Work with team/partnering approaches – small groups with reporting to the larger group  Allow for group discussion before individual work starts ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 13
  14. 14. Power Distance… …the degree to which inequality or distance between those in charge and the less powerful (subordinates) is accepted. HIERARCHICAL ORIENTATION PARTICIPATIVE Even better than respect is ORIENTATION obedience. The highest duty is to respect authority. Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their Tinhgee kneuyit yto. successful leadership today is influence, not authority. ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  15. 15. POWER DISTANCE Hierarchical Orientation versus Participative Orientation HIERARCHICAL STYLE South Korea Japan USA Germany United Kingdom ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 15 60 54 40 35 35 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Power Distance Country Score Sample Question: Employees should tell managers their views even if those views challenge those of the manager.
  16. 16. Hierarchical Orientation vs. Participative Orientation 16 When working with, managing or working for those who have a Hierarchical Orientation: Invite senior staff to make announcements, communicate expectations. Use legitimate power (management or seniority) to exercise authority. Be the expert – the most knowledgeable person on the subject. When working with, managing or working for those who have a Participative Orientation: Use influencing skills. Refer to those who might have more expertise than you do. Ask for input and perspectives from different employee levels. Allow for questions and challenges. ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  17. 17. Certainty… …the extent to which people prefer rules, regulations and controls or are more comfortable with unstructured, ambiguous or unpredictable situations. NEED FOR CERTAINTY TOLERANCE FOR AMBIGUITY Do it by the book. Better safe than sorry. Rules are meant to be broken. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  18. 18. Need for Certainty versus Tolerance for Ambiguity 85 STRUCTURE/RULES CERTAINTY 65 46 35 ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 18 92 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Certainty Country Sample Question: One can be a good manager without having precise answers to most of the questions that subordinates may raise about their work. Score Japan South Korea Germany USA United Kingdom
  19. 19. Need for Certainty vs. Tolerance for Ambiguity When working with, managing or working for those who have a Need for Certainty:  Provide specific rules and formal structures/formats. Give complete instructions with context (no surprises)  Provide them with examples of others who have used the approach successfully. Recognize their need for information  When delegating, include timelines and clear deliverables. Review progress often  Focus on compliance with procedures and policies. Use a logical flow to your interactions. Describe the logic When working with, managing or working for those who have a Tolerance for Ambiguity:  Provide rules and allow for changing them with discussion/rationale. They may not need to know how it is going to work as long as things make sense  Challenge others to try new things in a “safe” environment  Recognize creativity in completing the deliverables, if different from the stated directions  Focus on creativity and allowing time and interactions to flex as necessary ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 19
  20. 20. Achievement… …the degree to which we focus on goal achievement and work or quality of life and caring for others ACHIEVEMENT ORIENTATION Nice guys finish last. QUALITY OF LIFE ORIENTATION Winning isn’t All work and no play everything, it’s the make Jack a dull boy. only thing. It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice. ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  21. 21. 21 ACHIEVEMENT Achievement Orientation versus Quality of Life Orientation 95 66 66 39 62 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Achievement Country Sample Question: Competition between employees makes for a better organization. Score Japan Germany United Kingdom USA South Korea ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  22. 22. Achievement Orientation vs. Quality of Life Orientation When working with, managing or working for those who have an Achievement Orientation: Stress and reward performance, getting work done on time or early. Allow others to show drive or ambition for completion of tasks and meeting of deadlines. Communicate and respond with a sense of urgency. A good colleague should be decisive. When working with, managing or working for those who have a Quality of Life Orientation: Allow for building interdependence. Emphasize humility and modesty in your approach. Resolve conflicts by compromise and negotiation. A good colleague should be intuitive. ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 22
  23. 23. Time Orientation… …the extent to which members of a society are prepared to adapt themselves to reach a desirable future, or the extent to which they take their guidance from the past and focus on fulfilling their present needs and desires. SHORT TERM ORIENTATION LONG TERM ORIENTATION Dripping water can eat through a stone. Diligence is the basis of wealth, and thrift the source of riches. One today is worth two tomorrows. Keeping up with the Joneses… ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  24. 24. 24 TIME ORIENTATION Long-Term Orientation versus Short-Term Orientation 100 83 26 88 51 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Time Orientation Country Sample Question: Tomorrow's profits are more important than today's profits Score South Korea Japan Germany United Kingdom USA ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  25. 25. Long-Term Orientation vs. Short-Term Orientation 25 When working with, managing or working for those who have a Long- Term Orientation: Understanding is seen as a long process that requires considerable mental effort. Learners prefer a slow, accurate, systematic approach. Memorization is a way to deepen understanding. Use clear delineation of concepts. Reinforce use of processes with repetitive practice. When working with, managing or working for those who have a Short-Term Orientation: Understanding is seen as a process of sudden insight. Learners prefer an approach which incorporates investigative and analytical thinking. Use questioning and probing, and encourage learners to prove intellectual points by using logical arguments. Use abstract thinking and open discussions. ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  26. 26. ITAP’s Assessment of Cultural Differences • The Culture in the Workplace QuestionnaireTM (CWQ) enables USA and Korean managers to visually: – Learn about their cultural preferences – Compare their scores to their group score – Compare their group scores – Compare their group scores to country scores ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 26
  27. 27. If you were from a Korean company (see the scores for Korea) and were considering acquiring a US American company Comparison (Company Chart A), what difficulties Individualism 100 80 60 40 20 0 Power Distance Time Orientation Achievement Certainty Korea US Company A 27 might you expect to arise? Just one way in which ITAP helps managers visualize their scores: A spidergram ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  28. 28. Catherine Mercer Bing Managing Director ITAP Americas The Atrium at Newtown 353 Nassau Street, 1st floor Princeton, NJ 08540 USA (W) 1.215.860.5640 http://www.itapintl.com ©2014 ITAP International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 28

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