Bizarre North Korea
What makes North Korea so unusual?
Factors to consider include:
1. Dictatorial dynasty
3. Young age of chosen leader
4. Propensity for conflict
5. Technology development
6. Basic needs underserved
7. Nationalistic extremism
I developed and instructed a course for University of California at Berkeley Worldwide in the 1990s called Management Cultures East and West. The course was contracted for by the Korean Management Association in concert with academic institutions in South Korea. I used the materials to instruct another client too, students from BaoSteel Company from Baoshan District, China. I also incorporated ideas for use with clients from Tokyo.
I studied Japan, Chinese, and Korean culture with some limitations on time and compared the effect on management styles. Then I did the same for American culture and management style. I used the research to discuss topics and case studies with students.
In the course, I produced a workshop activity that divided the class into teams. The teams were given entrepreneur challenges in starting a new business to address specific customers’ needs. I tested the same workshop with American students from industry for comparison.
When asked to where the entrepreneurs would first go for assistance in starting their ventures, Asia nation students all responded “family.” American students rarely mentioned “family.” Asia nation students all had a propensity for teamwork in problem-solving where Americans often struggled with internal competition that led to unresolved conflict.
Throughout history, the family plays a most important role in Asian culture and society.
“Characteristics of the Traditional Asian Family
§ Hierarchical in structure, with males and older individuals occupying a higher status
§ Gender Differences between Asian male and Asian female
Asian families want sons b/c males are important and they carry on the family name (lineage).
Females=valued less than males, less important role in family
The role of the female is to be passive and to adhere to husband's family, be subservient to the male, perform domestic chores, and bear children.
The role of the male is to provide for the family. Primary duty is to be a good son; obligations to be a good husband and father come second to duty as son.
§ Patriarchal husband-wife relationships
§ Respect for ancestors and elderly (Past-present time orientation)
§ Loyalty to authority figures
One-way communication: adults speak to children
§ Collectivism---Family & Group Focus---Interdependence
Children learn early in life that the family is central & the primary unit
Behavior of individual members is a reflection on the entire family
§ Discipline--shame and guilt used to control and train children
Emphasize loyalty and honor to the family and avoidance of shame and embarrassment to the family
Family problems are hidden from public and handled within the family
Outstanding achievement: source of great pride for child and entire family
Mental illness is shameful and represents family failure
§ Less Open Display of Emotions=sign of maturity and self-control
Care and concern is shown by supplying physical needs of family members
Father---Authoritative and Distant, less emotionally demonstrative and involved, provides for the economic and physical needs of family
Mother---more responsive to children but uses less nurturance and more verbal and physical punishments than Whites; meets emotional needs of children and serves as intermediary b/t father and child”
Via University of South Florida
“New North Korean Leader Ascends to Head of Party
Published: December 26, 2011
SEOUL, South Korea — Kim Jong-un, the newly anointed leader ofNorth Korea, met on Monday with a private delegation of prominent South Koreans, his first face-to-face encounter with any visitors from the outside world since assuming the top spot a week ago when his father’s death was abruptly announced.
The meeting, scrutinized for any hint of Kim’s intentions toward the estranged South, came as the official North Korean media announced he had been appointed to the top post of the ruling party, another step in what appeared to be a choreographed sequence of events meant to show that he was assuming all the key positions held by his father, Kim Jong-il, the long-time ruler of the isolated North.
South Korea had said it would send no official mourners to Kim Jong-il’s funeral, which angered North Korea as a sign of disrespect. But Kim Jong-un’s meeting with the private delegation of mourners, which included the former first lady of South Korea and a top business woman, appeared to be cordial.
The South Korean visitors, Lee Hee-ho, the widow of former President Kim Dae-jung, and with the chairwoman of Hyundai-Asan, Hyun Jeong- eun, which had business ties with North Korea, were the only South Koreans allowed by the government in Seoul to lead private delegations to Pyongyang to express sympathy over the Dec. 17 death of Kim Jong-il.
They conveyed their condolences at Pyongyang’s Kumsusan mausoleum, where Kim Jong-il lay in state, according to the South Korean government.
Mr. Kim thanked the South Korean visitors, the North Korean official news agency, K.C.N.A, said.
Ms. Lee and Ms. Hyun laid their wreathes and walked around Kim Jong-il’s glass coffin to show their respect, K.C.N.A said. In a message in the visitors’ log, Ms. Lee wrote that she hoped the two Koreas would achieve an “early reunification” by honoring a 2000 summit agreement in which her husband and Kim Jong-il had promised to encourage political reconciliation and economic exchanges.
Kim Jong-il’s funeral is set to take place on Wednesday, and a memorial is scheduled for Thursday.
Kim Jong-un’s announced elevation to the leadership post of the Workers’ Party’s Central Committee came two days after the North’s state-run news media published an entreaty for him to become supreme commander of the country’s Korean People’s Army, whosesupport is considered crucial to his consolidation of power. The top brass also moved quickly to swear their allegiance to Mr. Kim.
Since Kim Jong-il’s death was announced on Dec. 19, a series of pronouncements from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, have indicated that Kim Jong-un, his third and youngest son, was rapidly consolidating his grip on power by assuming top titles, or that whoever was rallying the key agencies of power behind the young leader was ensuring that the son would not share power, at least in the public eye.
The younger Mr. Kim, his father’s third son, is believed to be in his late 20s. There has been no indication that he had worked in the government or the military before his father, who had a stroke in 2008, unveiled him as his successor last year and put him on a fast track to be groomed as heir.
On Monday, the North’s main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, urged North Koreans to “defend the party’s Central Committee headed by respected Comrade Kim Jong-un.”
The same slogan was used for his father when he was alive. Over the weekend, the North Korean media were blessing the son with the same honorifics until now reserved for his father: “heaven-sent leader,” “the sun of the 21st century” and eobeoi, the Korean word for parent, which North Korea has used only for Kim Jong-il and his father, Kim Il-sung, the North’s founding president.
Under the charter of the Workers’ Party, the head of its Central Committee doubles not only as general secretary but also as chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission.
Kim Jong-un was made vice chairman of the Central Military Commission when he was anointed as successor.
The Seoul government said that Ms. Lee and Ms. Hyun were reciprocating for the North Korean delegations that visited Seoul to express condolences over the deaths of President Kim Dae-jung and of Mr. Chung.
Hyundai-Asan led a flurry of South Korean investments that followed a 2000 summit meeting between the two Koreas. But the South suspended its signature project in North Korea — a hiking and spa resort near the North’s Diamond Mountain — after North Korean guards shot a female South Korean tourist who had strayed off the resort in 2008.
“I hope my trip will help improve South-North relations,” Ms. Lee told reporters before crossing the border on Monday.
On Sunday, striking a typically strident note, North Korea reiterated that if the South blocked private delegations from visiting Pyongyang for Mr. Kim’s funeral on Wednesday, there would be “unimaginably disastrous consequences” for relations between the two.”
Via the New York Times.