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Speak Up or Shut Up? - Part 2 -

"We become so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that at last we are disguised to ourselves." -La Rochefoucauld. Maxims and Reflections

Culture comparison: Western and Eastern

Disguising is human nature. We cannot deny it. The problem is how the culture adopts and responds to this nature. In general, we can roughly differentiate between Western and Eastern cultures.

Western Culture

Challenge and Response - meritocracy

It's not only the way to understand human history (by Arnold J. Toynbee) but summarises western culture adequately. For example, after the Renaissance, western people haven't just obey the authority, but the leader needs to prove its value. Otherwise, either revolution or war reversed the ruling power. Such challenge and response culture have a deep root before the Renaissance, as we can see in "The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France" by Eric Jager, "The Last Duel (2021 film)" by Ridley Scott. But, of course, the Trial by Combat has a slightly different context as it's a kind of Trial by Ordeal.

Eastern Culture

Obedience and Royalty - aristocracy

Unlike western countries that always fought each other after the fall of the Roman Empire, China, Japan, and Korea established well-centralized governments and enjoyed more peace than western countries. Further, the King ruled the country using the philosophy of Confucianism as governing the way of life, which emphasizes that royalty "obey the authority," rather than test its actual value, lasted at least more than 500 hundred years.

To prove the honor, people did Kaishaku (介錯, suicide) while western people combat.

The challenge to the Disguise - Netflix

Netflix has a unique culture after someone leaves the company.

Firing Postmortem

In a lengthy article in the War Street Journal, "At Netflix, Radical Transparency and Blunt Firings Unsettle the Ranks," Buzzwords and anxiety fill the hallways as Hollywood giant tries to maintain a winning culture amid breakneck growth; ‘sunshining’ the ‘N-word’ scandal" By Shalini Ramachandran and Joe Flint, you can see the gist of what Firing Postmortem is.

"The incident touched a nerve inside the streaming-video giant. The company’s handling of the ensuing backlash put on stark display the “Netflix way”—a culture where radical candor and transparency are among the highest virtues, and where openly discussing whether people should be fired, and explaining why they were, are common rituals."

Quotes from the Article

One former employee remembers seeing a woman who was just fired crying, packing up her boxes, while the rest of her team shied away from the scene without offering any support. They feared that “helping her would put a target on their back,” the employee said. “I just couldn’t believe it.”

Carey agreed. "It was certainly awkward for some, but was also consistent with the culture — there is sometimes a cost to transparency," Carey told the Journal. "In the end, I felt it was beneficial."

Result of Firing Postmortem

The company said the number of employees leaving voluntarily has remained steady at 4% annually, below the average of 13% for American companies cited in a 2017 report by the Society for Human Resource Management. Netflix’s firing rate was slightly higher, at 8% last year compared with the 6% average. Netflix said its total turnover comes to 11% a year, which is below the 13% annual turnover for technology companies, according to a 2018 study by LinkedIn.

Will Firing Postmortem work in a Korean Context?

When applying specific effective foreign policies to another country, one must consider the local culture. Otherwise, it is highly likely to fail.

In the survey "will Firing Postmortem work in your company?" 60% of Korean responded that it will not be effective in the Korean context. Furthermore, 64.4% answered that it would not work faithfully although our company adopts the Firing Postmortem.

The survey result shows that different culture needs another prescription.

The greatest effort of friendship is not to show our faults to a friend, but to show him his own. - La Rochefoucauld. Maxims and Reflections

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