Chaebol and Workplace Inequality in a Beijing Subsidiary

A new article is now available at the publisher’s website. The Organisational Culture of the Chaebol and Workplace Inequality: Stunted Mobilities of Korean Chinese Employees in a Beijing Subsidiary (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2018.1488176) is authored by Sharon J. Yoon of the Department of Korean Studies, Graduate School for International Studies, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea.

The abstract for the paper states:

The chaebol’s organisational culture was the target of much criticism when the Asian financial crisis hit the Korean economy in 1997. Despite much research on the topic over the past two decades, there continues to be a lack of consensus on the efficacy of reforms implemented since then. While some have focused on persisting patterns of paternalism, others have highlighted the structural changes implemented. This article revisits this debate by analysing the ways in which culture influences the implementation of structural reforms as a legitimating ideology. By analysing ethnographic data of a chaebol subsidiary in Beijing, the article demonstrates how cultural tropes of the company as a family and women as caretakers, popularised under the Park Chung Hee regime, have continued to shape perceptions of competence in the workplace. In particular, despite the crucial role that Korean Chinese employees have played in helping the chaebol penetrate Chinese markets, their bilingual and bicultural skills are devalued. Instead, the feminisation of their labour has justified their continuing marginalisation in the firm.

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