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

Cultural Divergence between Korean and Malay Industrial Workers as Reflected in Their “Definition of the Situation”

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2012, v.52 no.2, pp.188-220
https://doi.org/10.25024/kj.2012.52.2.188
(University of Malaya)
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Abstract

This article investigates intercultural misunderstandings between Koreans and Malays at work that may prevent Korean companies from becoming key players in global collaboration. It utilizes “sociology of knowledge” developed by Karl Mannheim and the sociocultural value orientation of Fons Trompenaars to understand the root cause and sources of conflicts in industrial settings. Korean society has always emphasized homogeneity as a basic feature of its cultural identity and integration. To outsiders, however, this may be viewed as Koreans’ ethnocentricity. Experience suggests that the more Korean companies invest overseas, the more intercultural communication problems crop up in their international interactions, which can be attributed to lack of understanding of intercultural differences and diversity. In this respect, this research could contribute towards conflict resolution through mutual understanding. It concludes that one of the main causes of conflict is the different perspectives of various groups on how they look at reality and nature, which influence their understanding of problems and circumstances, or what Mannheim terms the “definition of the situation.”

keywords
intercultural value divergence work-related values intercultural conflict definition of the situation inner-directed orientation outer-directed orientation

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