The Growth Of Women In The South Korean Business Essay


This paper relates to the study of mini case in Strategic Human Resource MGT International HRM Supplement. The article shows South Korean corporate culture that is still conflicted to career development of women and resist to the change in organizations. The cultural conflicts on gender discrimination still exist in the corporate organizations. Koreans are grapping their traditional thinking about the women and still think about lags in women capability in performing work tasks. the mini case article represent the gender discrimination that still grapping the Korean nation at corporate level that resist their development and competitiveness that can be scored with cultural change. Women at workplaces in South Korean companies rarely reached at the high ranking positions. The case demonstrate just 8% of women in Korea enjoy high ranking position as compare to US where almost 51% of high ranking positions are captured by the Women.

In this paper we will closely consider the HR policies of S&K holding to identify the major consideration of company policies and their close impact on organization overall strategies and corporate performance. The first part of this paper identify the business strategies of S & K holdings, then the HR policies of S & K holdings will be determined and its alignment with its business strategies will be analyzed. Secondly the women position in Korean organizational work place will be summarize with the explaining the competitive edge that Korean organizations including S &K holding can placed in the market and world wide with eliminating gender gap and make the availability of position for women in organizations with out gender discrimination. The next step will be the preparation of recruitment and retention plan for the employees of the company especially female staff with researching South Korea's Gender Equality Ministry. In last the obstacles in meeting the goal of achieving work force diversity with equal opportunities for the women in Korean corporate culture will be discussed and the possible recommendations will e made in the end to overcome these obstacles.

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SK group is the conglomerate group in South Korea. It is the third largest corporation having different corporations with entirely different types of businesses in it with one parent company with its subsequent holding companies in it. It is a multi industry company with more then 30,000 employees working in its different offices world wide. S&K group is a multi industry company as it is dealing with telecommunication, construction, shipping, trading, chemicals and semiconductors. The company required efficient and effective business strategies and HR policies in order manage its business and large number of diversified personal and to capture the competitive edge in wide market.

1-Determine if and how the HRM practices align with the company's business strategy

Company business strategies are those action planes that the company undertake in order to achieve the mission and business objectives of the corporation. The example from the article display mini case of S & K holding as a group of different corporation's relative to different industries like electronics, chemical, construction, telecommunication, shipping and marketing. The large numbers of companies are associated with S & K holdings

S&K Holding's business strategies accommodated with the action plans to cover the company's policies and standards to meet the goals of the multi organizations running under the name of S&K Holding.

S&K Holding's business strategy

S&K Holding has developed its original values and culture. SK Holdings has many subsidiary and affiliate companies in it relating to different fields of chemicals, IT, energy, and logistics/services. S & K group induce value maximization of its subsidiaries by improving management efficiency and business competitiveness. On the same time S & K holding have realized its business philosophy of 'Separate Yet Together' by producing management synergy between each subsidiary. Its basic strategic goal is to work under the principal of responsible management and transparency of their operations.

SK Holdings has immense long term plans and investment for the alignment with different companies and large number of long term goals has been specified with the strategies that the business need to cover in order to achieve these goals. SK Holdings has continuously strive for effectively manage its portfolio values with maximizing its share holders value. The group is long term goal is to expand the business with many new plan of work in life science business and many other different fields in order to fulfill the drives of next generation. With expand business, the strategies also developed for maximizing the Return on investment (ROI) from these long term business investments in various plans (Cha, & Yang, 2010).

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S & K holdings have taken many initiatives in different fields in order to align with its strategic goals in order to make the difference and competitive edge world wide. Since 1993 The group has developed many innovative drugs and have licensing with different companies and SK is the group that is providing many of its product to world best pharmaceutical companies. SK continuous development and innovations are followed by the strategic plans in order to gain the competitive edge and growth in future.

S & K employee policies and HRM

S & K holdings is comprised of a large number of subsidiaries including SK Telecom, SK shipping, SK Chemicals, SK branding, and many other subsidiaries are own by SK holding. The company is holding a large group of companies in it. The management system of these companies is aligning under the system of SK Management System (SKMS).

To achieve these strategic goals the policies, standards and role of management has been define under the system of SK Management System (SKMS), SK Brand, and SK People.

SKMS ensures a business management system for all SK employees working in different subsidiaries of SK group. The companies under SK groups are undermining with SKMS and implementing this management system for effective human resource management in its subsidiary and sharing this system to develop SK brand and promotes SK culture. SK group HR policies are revolving around this SK management system as it improvised the human resource management with enforcing their shareholders, leaders and employees to follow SK policies, standards and culture in order to achieve effective application of human resource management system. SKMS is a philosophy and methodology to support the SK employees without any biasness and discrimination among employees. This system aligns with the business strategies of the company.

SK groups implement the SUPEX and human oriented management system in which they pursue on development of excellence HR facilities with human oriented environment to achieve its corporate strategies regarding excellence.

SK holdings have its HR policies regarding the nurturing of new talent for its future development and growth. To nurture the new talent "SK people" is providing with Forest Scholarship Quiz Jang-Wen-bang Korea to many universities. The group is providing R & D funding to major universities in order to build the talent to take initiatives for future development. The company is providing advance training education facilities for the young talent to come up with their immense abilities and develop the skills required to get future advancement.

SK group focus on human forestation that is the growth of small tree in the form of talented employees in order to make them a forest in future with nurturing that talent with various training, development and implementation of different strategies to built and effective HR team. SUPEX is basically the execution of human forestation where perfect and excellence will be achieved with cropping the talent in company for future.

HRM and company strategy

HRM policies if SK group align with its business strategy as its many goal is to achieve excellence with expanding its business in world market and derives a great return in response with effective management and control system and develop and manage its human resource effectively. The company HR policies include SKMS and SUPEX is closely aligned with achievement of its short and long term strategic goals. Business strategies to accomplish its goals are closely associated with effective human resource management as employees are the key assets of any organization and effective management of employees are required in order to reach at the destination.

2-Discuss how hiring more women and promoting them could improve the competitive advantage of this company.

This part of paper relates to the gender discrimination that is still Korean work place have facing. The women role in workplace of organizations in Korea is conflicted as many companies are underestimating women in their role perceptions in job. The growth of western countries symbolized the role of women staff members in the success of the company.

The growth of women in the South Korean workplace

Women exploitation in work place is still conflicted in Korea as the cultural conflicts have been facing by the women. Although there are large number of working women ratio can be seen in Korean workplace. Still the discrimination can be seen as the women are rarely found in high ranking positions as compare to males. The wage rate of women employees can also be seen lower then the male. The wage rate of female employees is assumed 50% less then the males (Seguino, 1997). The adverse effect the women working in organizations that is pursuing cultural conflicts is that the percentage of unmarried women under 25 in Korea is highest in the world as due to low wage rates the women compromised with its marital status and work. It declines the rate of population growth in the world as the reproduction system due to less marriages that cause the cultural conflicts and increase the cultural conflicts in Korea. The working hours of Korean organizations also very long that is not expected to meet by the Korean women.

SK Holdings workplace culture

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The mini case referred in article is a prominent example of the gender discrimination in the Korean workplace as the senior manager of SK believes that the women are less capable to meet the company requirements. He says that "you need people prepared to put in long hours at the office." According to him the women can not stay for the longer period to accomplish the targets. Korean business makers have narrow perceptions regarding the women working in organizations.

Women in the workplace and competitive edge

Korea is the country with large number of women working in the market. The country can raise their markets by promoting female workers and avoiding the conflicts arising from gender discrimination by broadening the mental perceptions about women in work places and provide them equal opportunities. S & K holding is a big giant firm with expanding market the opportunities can be attain by hiring more and more women in the higher ranks and motivate the women with good wage rate as he case the female workers are more dedicated toward the company goal achievement as compare to male members due to emotional strength of women. The increasing rate of women workers in western country raise the competition among world and success of SK holdings highly depend on meeting the increasing rate of workforce dedication without gender discrimination. (Park, 1993)

3-Prepare a recruitment & retention plan for this company that specifically targets women employees.

S & K holding has large number subsidiaries working in it relating to different industries. The recruitment and retention of employees have key importance in company success. SK global have the recruitment and training plans for the employees in order to meet the company needs and to maintain the competitive edge in the market with selecting competent employees in different positions. Korean women have immense potential in achieving company targets. (Amsden, 1992).

South Korea's Gender Equality Ministry

Director of the Gender Equality Ministry, Cho Jin Woo says that "We have a long way to go". Cho said this statement on the base of reality that facing in South Korean market as gender conflicts still have to coop with in the Korean organizations. The low wage, low ranking positions and indifference opportunities has been facing by number of Koran companies. The state and firm level recruitments are still providing gender discrimination in providing opportunities to employees. (Berik, Rodgers, & Zveglich, 2004).

Recruitment & retention plan for S&K Holdings

S K recruitment can be planed in the smooth way with out gender biasness in the policies of selection. The important steps need to follow is following

Setting up the HR Division for the company

Structure the HR processes

Evaluating the number of positions and requirement of jobs

Inviting the personals to apply for jobs with out gender limitation criteria

Evaluating the performance of personals who applied for the job on the basis of qualification and experience relevant for the job, with out considering gender biases.

Measure their performance with parameters and standards derived by the company policies

Decision made for remunerations and reward on the basis of company remuneration policies and reward system with out gender difference.

Train employees for adjusting with company policies

Retain employees with motivation to fuel them to sustain growth of the company.

4-List 3 potential obstacles that this company could face in its quest to diversify its workforce in this particular culture.

Diversification of workforce is the need of the time for S & K group's future success and competitive edge but many obstacles has become hurdle in the successful implementation of diverse work force and avoidance of gender discrimination in the company culture.

One of the biggest hurdles is the Korea culture it binds women success and resists to change. Korea has fast growing economy but still the cultural is not adopted to change and accept man and women equal position in work place.

It will be difficult for the company to improvised the system with different cultural norms and it takes time to accept the change fro the side of male employees as they consider themselves superior as their cultural association with it. Acceptance of change to this work force diversity and acceptance of female with equal position is difficult to accept.

Females need to be strong enough to coop with the situations. Cultural bindings and mental perceptions of other to ward women growth in workplace is the biggest hurdle for the female employees in order to sustain their positions. It is the largest hurdle for the company to sustain a culture where women and man keep close binding to deal with ineffective situations with common mental perceptions about the situation and to reach at the common decision. (Kim, 1994).


Organizational change must be encourages with employee job security associate with them.

Equal opportunities will be provided with out gender discrimination.

Recruitment criteria should be identical for male and women.

Wage rate should be according to employee capabilities and experience, not on the base of gender differences.

Reward system should be fair and should base on performance.


Korean women are playing effective role in country economy. The important requirement of the situation is the promotion of gender free organizational as well as country culture in order to succeed and to get competitive advantage over others. S & K holding is a large company with potential to sustain in market. The need for taking initiatives for women empowerment is required.