AHP Analysis of Cross-Cultural Friction and Synergy in Korean Subsidiaries of Austrian Companies

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Academic research regarding cross-cultural management has gained fundamental importance in today’s globalised business world. Within this field, this paper examines cultural synergy and friction of Austrian and Korean business culture. Austrian companies have a high export orientation and have shown strong interest in doing business with Korea, which has been identified as an exceptionally attractive location for subsidiaries of foreign MNEs. Applying the Analytical Hierarchy Process, Korean employees in Korean subsidiaries of Austrian companies were surveyed regarding their satisfaction levels in different job aspects as well as their preferences regarding alternatives in the criteria leadership style, work teams, and tasks and responsibilities. The study found synergy between the preferences of Korean employees and Austrian management in the importance placed on challenging projects and chances for personal achievements at work, as well as the lack of desire for close personal relations with superiors and colleagues. The latter represents a unique finding, contrary to what had been suggested by the relevant literature. Additionally, the research found areas of cultural friction regarding the importance assigned to consultative decision-making, a relaxed use of time, and freedom when performing work tasks. Overall good satisfaction levels of Korean employees in the subsidiaries were reported.

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