A STUDY ON THE CULTURAL DIFFERENCES AND THE LEADERSHIP STYLES IN SCANDINAVIA AND SOUTH KOREA
Many Western companies are developing and choosing to expand in South Korea among other Eastern countries due to reasons such as economic benefits and/or lack of resources in the home country. This result in the need of understanding the local culture followed by the necessary adjustments in the leadership style(s) to achieve project success. The aim of this study is to determine the cultural differences between Scandinavia and South Korea, the different leadership styles(s) practiced by Scandinavian leaders in South Korea and the strategies used for adjusting to the South Korean working environment. This study has used journals, books, websites and interviews to determine and describe the cultural differences and leadership styles followed by the strategies for adjusting to the South Korean working environment. It was found in the theory that there are cultural differences between Scandinavia and South Korea, which lead to different leadership styles that should be practised. The most efficient leadership styles for Scandinavia are almost the opposite of the most efficient leadership styles for South Korea. Based on the empirical results, it was found that Scandinavian leaders have a cultural understanding and have mostly used a combination of two or more leadership styles when working in South Korea. Even if some leaders did adjust their leadership style to the new environment, they did not completely practise the leadership styles that suit South Korea the best. It was also found that participants prepare themselves by reading books and talking with colleagues for exchanging ideas and experiences before departure to South Korea. Few of the participants had the chance to attend a course/workshop related to South Korea prior to the move. It is concluded that the overall leadership styles practised by Scandinavians in South Korea are more of the Scandinavian character and therefore there is a need of adjustments for achieving leadership effectiveness in the South Korean working environment. There is also a great need of pre departure and post arrival training for easier relocation to South Korea. However, the authors got the impression during the interviews performed that the communication and cooperation between leaders and team members in South Korea were not a big issue as such, rather the issue was the communication and cooperation between Scandinavian teams and the South Korean suppliers. The findings are believed to be valuable for companies transferring Scandinavian expatriates to lead in the Confucian cultures in general and in South Korea in particular.
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