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Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(12), 318; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8120318
2. Literature Review
4. The Interactions of Business Masculinities on the Local, National, and Global Levels
4.1. The Gendered Segregation of Labor within Family is Going Global
“I worked almost 24 h a day. No holidays for decades. Therefore, it was very natural that I had no time to spend with my family. In the earlier stage of [the] industrialization process, there was a shared consensus among the general public that the economic development should come first. My family understood that I had to work not only for the family, but also for the nation.”1
“For the earlier industrialization process, it was a “take-for-granted” social norm that employees work all day long. My wife and children understood that I had to be absent at home. I have [n]ever participated in either the ceremony for entering school or [the] graduation ceremony of my two children from the elementary school to the university. My wife took care of all kinds of house-related stuffs.”2
“My wife and my son live in Tokyo. We see around once a month. If I go to Tokyo, I see my family and visit my customers.”4
“In my case, work-life balance is much easier for me, because my family lives in the USA. My daughter just graduated from Stanford University and my son is going to Stanford. We have lived separately from 14 years ago. I go to the States twice a month. I travel a lot. I spend a lot of time, maybe 50 days per year, on the airplane. When I am in Korea, I can 100% concentrate on my work. I visit my kids on the weekends and spend time with them. My wife is working as a lawyer there, but she takes care of everything with regard to child rearing. However, I make my decisions for important agendas, you know, such as children’s education and career. So, the balance between my work and private life is quite well managed.”5
“Even though we hear about work-life balance more often in these days, I believe that long working hours for top managers will not eventually be changed. The thing is not how long you spend your time with your family, but how you spend the time effectively with them. Not only the efficiency of working time, but also the time with family should also be managed in a productive way.”6
4.2. Business Masculinity: Industrial Warriors with Nationalist Sentiments
“In the 1950s, South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. Our parents taught us only one thing: education is the sole way to build a nation. We worked really hard to enter a good university and I entered the Seoul National University. As I graduated from the university, that was the time when President Park Chung Hee (1962–1979) tried to transform the industrial structure from light industry to heavy- and chemical industry. But we had no enterprises which were capable of leading such a big business. President Park himself selected 10 big enterprises and sent some business elites of the companies to Japan to learn the know-hows and skills. That was the start of the industrialization in Korea. And we are the first generation who participated in the industrialization process.”7
“Female managers are extremely rare in our sector. I think that there are sectors, in which females might present their capabilities in a better way. I suppose that advertisement or fashion industries might be their world.”8
“Our company has a mentor system. As a top manager, I try to manage my team from the work to the personal life. For instance, on the weekends, we clime up the mountain, play football with them, and go to sauna together after drinking.”9
“As you know, since the President Lee Myung-bak in office, a lot of business friendly policies have been introduced. He himself was a CEO in the industrial sector in a Chaebol group. Therefore, he knows the mechanism and needs of enterprises really well. He knows well that Korea has no natural resources, therefore, export-oriented economic policies should come first for our nation.”10
4.3. The Chaebol-Centered Business Masculine Identity and a League of Their Own in a Global Arena
“The [majority] of the CEOs in the earlier industrialization process were founders. They share a same philosophy that Korean enterprises should achieve the rapid economic development for the nation, regardless [of] its different name of the company groups. In these days, it is different. It has been more individualistic. On the corporate level, every company group tries to create their own image. Furthermore, on the individual level, every single performance and skill of each individual will be reflected to the promotion.”11
“Samsung provides for the employees a lot of on-the-job training program. They try to mold them into a ‘Samsung man’. As a ‘Samsung man’, we learn how we nurture loyalty to the company. It applies to every employee of Samsung.”13
“Samsung has certainly labor unions. However, employees do not think that they need any collective bargaining, since Samsung provides a full-package of fringe benefits, before the employees demand their rights. Hyundai has been famous for the militaristic labor unionism. However, it has been also changed. The Hyundai group has attempted to adopt the system of the Samsung’s.”14
“We have factories in China. They have also labor unions. However, it is government-oriented unionism, which means that the relations between the enterprise and the workers are very harmonious. This is an ideal form of industrial relations.”15
“I hired Korean Americans with language proficiency as subordinates, since our business was international sales department. They work hard and diligently and they understood Korean organizational culture well. However, 99% of the enterprises in the industrial sector were against them, with the reason that they do not understand Korean organizational culture.”16
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Interviewed on 19 October 2012 with a CEO, born in 1941.
Interviewed on 16 October 2012 with a CEO, born in 1947.
Interviewed on 15 October 2012 with a CEO, born in 1946.
Interviewed on 12 October 2012 with a vice-president, born in 1960.
Interviewed on 23 July 2012 with a CEO, born in 1958.
Interviewed on 19 October 2012 with a CEO, born in 1941.
Interviewed on 15 October 2012 with a CEO, born in 1946, italic by author.
Interviewed on 12 October 2012 with a vice president, born in 1960, italic by author.
Interviewed on 11 October 2012 with a senior manager, born in 1956.
Interviewed on 12 October 2012 with a vice president, born in 1960.
Interviewed on 27 July 2012 with a senior manager, born in 1950.
For instance, “Samsung man”, “Hyundai man”, “Daewoo man” has started to be used in the major Korean newspapers since the early 1990s.
Interviewed on 26 July 2012 with a senior manager, born in 1946, italic by author.
Interviewed on 22 July 2012 with a senior manager, born in 1950.
Interviewed on 13 October 2012 with a senior manager, born in 1956, italic by author.
Interviewed on 22 July 2012 with a senior manager, born in 1950.
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