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Seniority biggest communication problem: foreigners

Foreign nationals see hierarchy in organizations such as companies and school as one of their main obstacles in communication, a survey showed on Thursday.

Fifty-nine percent of the 209 foreigners who have some experience living or working in Korea said the lack of communication is most serious between higher and lower level positions in schools and offices, according to a survey by the Corea Image Communication Institute.

Thirty-six said lack of communication among different generations is also a major problem in Korea. About 9 percent responded that communication among different social classes was a major problem.

The survey was conducted between March 19-April 4 via e-mail.

Interestingly, in the same survey conducted among 317 Koreans, about 48 percent respondents said miscommunication among different social classes is the biggest problem in Korea, while 22 percent answered communication among different generations posed the greatest problem.

About 19 percent of the Korean respondents answered communication problems between higher and lower level positions in organizations.

Regarding the main cause of communication problems, 55 percent of foreign respondents cited Korea’s social norms, which tend to favor the elders and the majority, while 56 percent of Koreans pointed to self-centered attitudes.

When asked of possible solutions for better communication, the majority of both foreign and Korean respondents said respecting ‘s different opinions was a solution. They also recommended encouraging discussions and debate and also providing education.

By Oh Kyu-wook (596story@heraldcorp.com)
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