South Korea Culture and Communication

Communication and culture are two aspects addressed in the consumer behaviour theory. Communication refers to the transmission of messages from a sender to a receiver through a designated medium. The credibility of message depends on the effectiveness of medium and the characteristics of the receiver (Schiffman and Leslie 2009). For instance, the message conveyed by advertisements is perceived differently by the target audience. The use of humour may be interpreted differently. It can be perceived positively or negatively. On the other hand, culture refers to the way of life. Culture is shared, dynamic and learned through the acculturation and enculturation (Carey 1988). People share some norms, values, roles and characters in a common culture.

South Korea is a country in Eastern Asia. The people in this country are those who speak the same language. They share some distinct characteristics that distinguish them from other Asian people, i.e. from the Chinese and Japanese (Yoon 2009). The aspects of culture and communication in this country are the ones and the same. This is because communication is one of the etiquettes of any culture. The people in South Korea value their family and regard it as the most important part of life. The father is a head of the family. The welfare of the entire family is much more important than the needs of an individual. Korean ancestors are traced by the male family line. There is much of the ancestral worship since children are made to believe that they can never be able to repay their parents. Therefore, they hold some ancestral ceremonies several times per year.

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Communication is a part of the Korean culture. This is because it is defined by the cultural values and norms of people. Greetings are a common form of communication following a strict protocol. Koreans shake their hands after a bow. The person of the lower status bows before the one of the higher status. Handshakes are initiated by the person of the higher status. It is advisable to wait for an introduction in a social gathering and then to bow to each person individually when leaving.

The people of South Korea prefer to do business with the people they know at the personal level (“Market Analysis Report” 2011). Therefore, it is important to get the introduction from the third party. Informal gatherings are used to develop relationships where the parties eat and drink. A written communication is handled with a great care. They treat legal documents as the normal memorandums of understanding. The people in this country are direct communicators. They ask questions when they do not understand. In other words, it is the culture where less is more as far as the communication is being concerned. It is important to respond to questions directly and concisely. Non-verbal communication is also crucial in Korea. The attire of doing business is conservative. Men are encouraged to wear dark suits with white shirts, while women wear subdued colours. Men are not allowed to wear jewels apart from a watch or a wedding ring.

South Korea vs. Australia

In Australia, the culture is a bit flexible (“CDA Media” 2012). They have a very friendly and open culture. Contrary to the Korean norms, Australia expects an individual’s work to speak for itself. This way, they do not get impressed by the one’s status or position. The people of Australia use English as the official language as opposed to Koreans applying Korean. Australians tend to use the directness before diplomacy; and they are, thus, considered quite blunt. Contrary to Koreans, divided into high and low classes, Australians accept the fact that there are not better and not worse persons. Therefore, there are no different greetings to different people since everybody is equal. The Australian culture accepts humour in business situations. Not only is it accepted, but also expected in all situations. However, senior managers should not be underestimated because they use humour. This is not so in South Korea where professionalism is endorsed.

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The use of humour in South Korea means a lack of respect and inappropriateness. There is an evident equality in all societal levels in Australia. This reinforces the cooperation and interaction across power levels while creating a favourable cultural environment. In South Korea, it is opposite. A mutual understanding and cooperation that would influence on the consumer behaviour is facilitated by respect as well as loyalty (“Time Magazine” 2010). Moreover, there is no need of the third party during business interactions. Every individual has a right to conduct business in Australia regardless of his or her country of origin. Similarly, there is no bowing down during greetings or any formality from the person initiating greetings. This shows that before one thinks of doing business in either of these countries, he/she needs to undergo the communication training. It is important because it might cost the one’s business future.

An Australian exporter might fight for a reliable target market in South Korea. Business is guarded by a cultural orientation of consumers. Businessmen endeavour to understand the consumers’ behaviour of their target markets before engaging into selling activities (Moehlman 2010). According to the consumer behaviour theory, culture shapes the consumers’ perception and attitudes towards a product or a service. This influences on the consumers’ decision making and purchasing behaviour. The exporter from Australia may need to understand the dos and don’ts of the Korean people before engaging into business transactions. Once he/she has done that, confidence is gained, and the opportunity is presented in plenty. This means that they can adjust easily as demanded by different environments. Once the mutual trust has been established, the consumer behaviour of the Koreans is influenced positively. They work hard to ensure the success of their partners. This means that the Australian exporter will succeed in business once a stable relationship has been introduced. South Koreans are direct communicators; and Australians put the directness before diplomacy (Taylor 2012). This means that it is easier to communicate during business in either of the country.


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