Why South Korean Companies Are Giving Employees Western Names

July 3, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Rachel Premack wrote that workers in South Korea are being asked to create new identities for themselves:

  • In Korean culture it can be rude to refer to people by their first name; honourific titles are used instead.
  • This contributes to a hierarchical organization that discourages the free flow of ideas.
  • Management knows it’d be difficult to overwrite tradition and convince everyone to refer to each other by their real first names – so they ask them to pick fake western ones instead.
  • This breakdown in hierarchy is difficult for some to handle – particularly older employees who benefit from the existing system.
  • Others dislike the cultural overtures of adapting a western name – they point out that a person’s birth name is a core part of their identity and was given to them by their parents.

Read more on The Washington Post.

Via: Marginal Revolution