The Chaebol and Labour in Korea: The Development of Management Strategy in Hyundai

The Chaebol and Labour in Korea: The Development of Management Strategy in Hyundai

The Chaebol and Labour in Korea: The Development of Management Strategy in Hyundai

The Chaebol and Labour in Korea: The Development of Management Strategy in Hyundai

Synopsis

This study argues that an historical analysis of the labour-management policies of the Korean family conglomerates, or chaebol, is essential for complete understanding of the dynamics of South Korean industrial relations.

Excerpt

This book examines the central role played by the large conglomerates, or chaebol, in Korean industrial relations. the role of the chaebol has been underestimated by most analyses that emphasise instead the dominant role of the state. the key argument developed in the book is that the chaebol have played a central role in the historical development of industrial relations in Korea. It does this through a detailed case study of Hyundai's three core subsidiaries in construction, shipbuilding and automobile assembly. the book examines the linkages between the growth strategies of Hyundai and the diversity of approaches adopted towards the management of human resources, industrial relations and the organisation of work processes from the 1940s onwards.

The Hyundai Business group represents a highly diversified, family owned conglomerate (by Chung Juyung and his family members), that has a dominant position in the Korean economy. in 1998, it comprised sixty-three subsidiaries operating in construction, automobiles, electronics, heavy industry and machinery, chemicals, banking and finance and other service industries (Chosun Ilbo 7 December 1998). in 1996, total sales of the pan-Hyundai Business Group (US$92.2 billion), together with other Chung family business groups (such as the Hanra and Seungwoo Group), represented approximately 20 per cent of South Korea's gross domestic product of US$461.8 billion). Overall, the Hyundai Business Group directly employed in excess of 200,000 workers in 1997 (Hyundai Group Public Relations Office 1997). the Group is also a substantial global business entity. For example, the Hyundai Motor Company is one of the ten largest automobile manufacturers in the world. Its production capacity in 1999 was approximately 3.3 million units (including the Kia Motor Company) (The Economist August 1999). Moreover, the Hyundai Engineering and Construction Corporation is one of the ten largest construction companies in the world (Hyundai Group Public Relations Office 1997). Another core subsidiary, Hyundai Electronics Industries is the world's largest producer of semiconductor products, especially dynamic random access memory (DRAM), with in excess of 20 per cent of the world market in 1999.

With regard to methods, a combined historical and case study approach was adopted to document management strategy within the Hyundai Business

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