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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

Changes in Attitude toward Work and Workers' Identity in Korea

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2005, v.45 no.3, pp.36-57


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Abstract

The age-graded seniority system, familial structure, and lifetime employment, at least as an ideology, used to be the hallmarks of Korean corporate culture. Following the financial crisis in 1997, however, layoffs, early retirement, job insecurity and increased competition have become the realities of the workplace. The question is: How have these uncertainties and the harsher corporate environment changed the way Koreans think about work? How has their work ethic changed? This paper explores how Koreans perception of work has become more realistic and self-centered, as they are much more conscious of their future potential and working conditions. Their sense of identity is no longer primarily based on work and jobs. Not surprisingly, job satisfaction has conspicuously declined. What is also noteworthy is how the heartless world of work, as it is now popularly perceived, has inspired changes in job selection considerations. What all of this shows is that Korean workers identities are no longer homogeneous and work-oriented. Following the financial crisis, working conditions and types of employment have become much more varied, leading to the gradual diminution of collective consciousness.

keywords
work ethic identity financial crisis Korea Korean workers job mentality work ethic identity financial crisis Korea Korean workers job mentality

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