Koreans and hierarchy
Like most of the states of East Asia, Korea is the country of the all-permissive hierarchy. The tough hierarchy permeates all Korean society, it defines both personal and official relations of any of his Korean. Each cricket knows his sixth very well here. A foreigner of America or Russia who came from Europe, America or Russia, how reigning in Korean firms the style of relations is different from the style adopted in the West. In the West, an open demonstration of the service hierarchy is often perceived as something indecent, the bosses and subordinates externally hold out or at least try to keep as equal. In Korea, it is unthinkable, and the belt bonds, allocated to the boss for or without reason – is the normal behavior of the Korean employee.
In the Confucian tradition, society, a state, and later – and a private firm have always been identified with the patriarchal family, equality in which could not exist simply by definition: the father was older than his mother, parents – older sons, sons – older sisters. It is not by chance that neither in Korean, nor in Chinese simply there is no concepts "Brother in general" or "Sister at all": and brother, and sister can only be either elders or younger. The idea that society is a strictly hierarchized pyramid, in which there simply cannot be two people who are completely equal in its social status, persistent in the Far East and today. Esseist Lee Kyu TCE, who in modern Korea deservedly considered the leading authority in matters of national nature, somehow noticed: "Hierarchy – the method of existence of Korean, and the yield from the hierarchical structure is equivalent to the exit from Korean society".
Based on my personal experience, I can not disagree with another remark whether QU THE: "When two Koreans meet with each other, the first thing they want to know is what [hierarchical] staircase belongs to the interlocutor, and what it takes place on it". It is with this, in particular, an unusual korean addiction to visiting cards is connected. After all, a business card is the easiest and most reliable way to understand with whom you deal, it reflects and what the hierarchical staircase is a person (whether he serves, entrepreneur whether, is the official, Lie teacher), and the place for this staircase it takes. The first thing they want to understand the two unfamiliar Koreans, first having met each other – this is who of them, in fact, is the eldest (not by age, but in public position). Therefore, at the first meeting, Koreans always ask each other a series of standard questions, some of whom seem to be very strange and too personal (Koreans themselves, of course, perceive them completely normal). It is customary to ask about the age, marital status, place of work and position, as well as in some cases, about the place of birth and the end of the educational institution. All this information is needed to Korean first in order to establish the social coordinates of its new acquaintance and, accordingly, to understand how to behave with him. It is quite obvious to Korean that, say, a married man is located on a hierarchical staircase a little higher than a bachelor, and a graduate of the Seoul University – noticeably above the graduate of the provincial university.
To me in graduate school years I had to work a lot to a translator with Korean tourist groups. They consisted, of course, from randomly selected people, but at the same time their hierarchy quickly arose in the group. Sometimes this process happened literally in my eyes, and by the end of the first day everyone had already clear who is who". The hierarchy was built in accordance with age, education, place of work and official position. The group quickly allocated a generally accepted leader and several people who have formed a kind "Council of Elders".
In manuals for young employees who appear in abundance on the shelves of Korean bookstores, explains in detail how to express their respectful attitude to those who are above you on the public stairs. The authors of such benefits share all colleagues into three categories: in-premium, colleagues, located about the same hierarchical level, secondly, all "bosses", And, in -Wray, senior colleagues, which are not formally, however, the direct supervisors. Already in relation to senior colleagues, all respect should be shown. One of the benefits intended for the young office laryrs, directly advises them: "Don’t be clever before Sonba!". In the case of a direct boss, its high status should be emphasizing constantly and all available in ways.
Neon understanding of all these rituals – hardly the main cause of official conflicts for foreigners working in Korea. At best, they simply do not understand the local rules of the game, and at worst – forget the ancient (and very beloved Koreans) Proverbs "In Rome do the way Romans do", and try to rebuild their relationship with colleagues and bosses on the basis of "principles of democracy". It is clear that the consequences of such perestroika experiments usually turn out to be sad, first of all – for the experimenter itself.
The influence that hierarchy has a life of modern Korean society cannot be assessed quite clearly. On the one hand, it is like this or not, but it is the hierarchy and conformism that contributed to Korean "Economic miracle". The disciplinedness of the labor force, the readiness of the Koreans without Ropota to demolish the deprivation and without the projectors to execute orders became one of the factors that provided and political stability and high production discipline. Without stability and discipline, success would be impossible at that time when the development of the country depended on the copying of foreign technologies. On the other hand, excessive hierarchiesty becomes recently a serious problem, because it is largely fighting creative thinking. Korean sociologists themselves often express the opinion that in Korea, for example, real scientific discussions are impossible. The reason for this is simple: due to the presence of teachers and students, chiefs and subordinates at seminars, no one is decided to question the opinion expressed by the teacher or senior colleague, even if this opinion is clearly mistaken.
Talk about those factors that in modern Korean society determines the position of a person on the hierarchical staircase – it means to talk about the Korean society as a whole, the entire system of values existing in it. The first criterion is definitely the age: what a person is older, the greatest respect he uses. The second, as traditional, the criterion remains sexuality: a woman by definition below the man, although the wife shares the status of her husband to some extent. The third factor that is taken into account is the level of education and prestige of the diploma (in Korea it is not determined by the specialty, but exclusively the prestige of the university), and the fourth, most interesting and at the same time difficult for the description – the occupation and official position. Despite the complexity and ambiguity of the criteria for which Koreans determine the social status of their familiar or partner, in practice this assessment occurs very quickly and is very definite.
Hierarchy is largely supported even by the Korean language itself, its grammar. One of the characteristic features of the Korean language is the presence of so-called "degrees of politeness" – Special verb grammatical forms that are necessarily used at the end of each sentence and signal, at what stage of the public staircase, according to the speaker, it is also himself, and his interlocutor. To a certain extent, this system resembles Russian distinction "You / you", However, first, it has not two, and four or even five steps and, secondly, wears a much less optional character: in the speech of Korean, almost any phrase, regardless of its content, simply due to the grammatical forms used, not Only shows which of the conversations occupies a higher position on the hierarchical staircase, but even, in many cases, approximately denotes the social distance between them (the stages of courtesy four!).
It should be noted and specific for Koreans, which occupy a high position in the hierarchy, to speak and keep themselves. Traditionally, Korea believed that a self-respecting person should be a few, and these performances were preserved to our time. This refers to those who occupy high places on the hierarchical staircase. This boss in general "Big man" Ideally speaks little, quiet and somewhat monotonous voice, moves slowly and solid. A tendency to verbose, the habit of openly express your opinion and demonstrate the Koreans surrounding their emotions perceive as a sign of frivolousness, frivolity. The old tradition demanded that a person, and especially – a representative of the Confucian elite, was externally absolutely impassive to be his face "Like a tree or stone"
This cultural feature with the relationship with the Europeans is completely and nearby leads to unpleasant collisions. On the one hand, many Europeans (as well as Russians or Americans) due to the sociability of them are perceived as people "Lightweight" and "Nonselzny" and, as a result, not too worthy trust. On the other, the usual formed and high-ranking Koreans for an old hardening of a little climax and an underlined lack of emotions (more precisely, their external expression, for in essence Koreans – very emotional people) often causes suspicion from Europeans "Eastern cunning" and, accordingly, instinctive distrust.
For most Koreans, their public prestige is no less important than material well-being, and sometimes in order to increase their social status, they go to very large financial sacrifice. For Far Eastern Mass Consciousness, unlike, for example, American, concepts "high paying job" and "prestigious job" – do not synonymous. The prestige and profitability of this or that activity form a complex complex, which determines the degree of its attractiveness. However, this is already the topic of a different story.