Labor Strategy for Industrialization in South Korea

Kyuhan Bae
September 1989
Pacific Affairs;Fall89, Vol. 62 Issue 3, p353
Academic Journal
The remarkable economic growth of South Korea over the past several decades is often considered an unusual case because it does not fit neatly into the established pattern of development. However, it is not unusual in that it is a result of rational evaluation-a process of evaluation which involved interaction among government, employers, and employees who collectively took note of situations peculiar to South Korea. A labor shortage was overcome by the successful labor training program and its unique recruitment system—a mix of Japanese and western practices. Korean managers rationally evaluated alternative strategies and devised a balanced system that lies somewhere between Japan's nenko (system of seniority) and the west's market-driven system. The Labour-Management Council, the Factory New Village Movement, and the military model of entrepreneurial ideology were devices to skillfully manage this new labor force system. While this system is a product of a rational decision-making policy that bears local situations in mind it also draws on Korea's Confucian heritage.


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