Author Topic: Korean Kibun  (Read 45958 times)

StarRanger4

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Korean Kibun
« on: October 03, 2012, 02:41:54 PM »

Segev

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2012, 03:01:35 PM »
Thank you very much for this. It is extremely enlightening, and I think I can start trying to subtly alter my suggestions to use it. I am not sure I am going to be great at it; "nunchi" is something I have trouble with in an American context, let alone with people deliberately trying to put forth a more amenable face than they really feel.

That said, I'm curious about the "throw a tantrum" method of regaining kibun. Is it thus not shameful to do so? It would seem the ultimate violation of it, harming that of all around you as well as displaying you've failed to maintain your own, but it supposedly restores it. Do you have any further information about this?

It could be that they're desperately trying to figure out how to either prevent or mollify our display of what they see as precisely this sort of kibun-restoring tantrum. If we can help them find a way to do so while maintaining their own kibun and make turning the IP over serve that purpose...

Vulpy

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2012, 03:11:04 PM »
Both Kibun and Nunchi are very difficult concepts for non-Koreans to get the hang of and we will generally be forgiven for our ignorance of these concepts and consequent rude behaviour, especailly if we are high on the status ladder. However, one gains more than one loses by trying to understand and, as much as possible, behaving according to these rules of behaviour. 

This forms the core of what contemporary Western education refers to as "cultural comptence in communication": when talking to someone from a very different background, consciously adjust your style, tone, and word choice. Be willing to apologize if you make a social misstep in your ignorance. A few such mistakes may be made, but you should come out ahead overall--who doesn't appreciate someone genuinely trying to make them more comfortable?

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A very good example is that if person is to be let go, they will generally be told on the Friday evening and told not to return to work to finish up, because the persons kibun would already be hurt there would be no reason to make it worse having them work (this is good nunchi).

This, too, struck me. NCsoft may have been trying to save face for Paragon Studios--which would be a very gracious move, even if such steps are not often required and are, indeed, occasionally harmful in American business.

As for how to turn this to our advantage... It would behoove us, especially in direct communications, to remember that we are dealing with learned businesspeople. They will--and should--expect us to be comptent in those communications, to present ourselves well. If we are willing to give opportunites to keep kibun, they will likely do the same for us. In this fashion, a stronger bond might be forged.

That said, I'm curious about the "throw a tantrum" method of regaining kibun. Is it thus not shameful to do so? It would seem the ultimate violation of it, harming that of all around you as well as displaying you've failed to maintain your own, but it supposedly restores it. Do you have any further information about this?

I have never seen our efforts as a "tantrum." NCsoft's leaders owe us no kibun. Indeed, they've helped us many, many times before. But such a display could be a face-saving measure if one can continue to select their words carefully while obviously deeply distressed.

We need to make it clear to them that we speak out because we love what they have had a hand in creating. In fact, the more people that know this, the better off both parties will be.
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Segev

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2012, 03:19:27 PM »
I think they may see this as the sort of kibun-saving tantrum, if not consciously, than on an unconscious cultural level. Just as we unconsciously see the "exhausted all options" line as being a gross insult, even now consciously knowing what may have motivated it was a desire to preserve feelings. I'm not saying it IS a tantrum; I'm trying to look at what they might be thinking.


I have always advocated being professional; this helps refine what "professional" means in this case. Yes, we absolutely can go with them-as-allies if we can frame this as our kibun being enhanced by a product they made, even if they no longer can directly participate. The most difficult part, for me, would be the "white lies," but I think careful genteelity in phrasing the truth might serve similar purposes.

The first step will be to attempt to reformat our collective reaction to their most recent message. We need to absolutely not take its face value as finality, but at the same time, we must dance with it; accept the graciousness it attempts, from their perspective, to offer, and twirl it into an extended offer to devote more energy and work harder with them to find a resolution. They have risked losing kibun in admitting the shame of failure to find a solution after "exhausting all options." Instead of rubbing their faces in the fib, we instead accept the "exhausted" adjective as the explanation and say, "we know you can do better; we have faith in you. Let us offer our energy to elevate both our Kibun!"

darkquill

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2012, 03:23:00 PM »
What great research!
My response pretty closely resembles Segev's.

It makes me wonder if Paragon Studios' management was supposed to know they weren't doing well enough, but didn't because they didn't pick up on the right clues.  I would think "surely they would be more clear in business communications about business goals," but this wouldn't be the first thing about this situation that didn't make sense to me from a Western perspective. Then they were even nice enough to give the studios a 3-day weekend to regain kibun. . . which failed, of course.

There's not a lot in there about kibun specifically in the business-customer relationship. A customer's expression of dissatisfaction may be treated differently from a social peer's or an underling's or a superior's. I can only imagine that trying to handle the kibun of a group of thousands and thousands of customers all with slightly different reactions must be overwhelming.  In the West, we can write it off by saying "You can't please all of the people all of the time." I wonder what they have as a parallel.

Great job, StarRanger4!

QuantumHero

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2012, 03:50:18 PM »
There is much to ponder in this thread...please return to the table nsoft.  It is your departure from the effort that shames us all.  To redeem face is to find a solution for we do not accept the name of our world written in red ink.  We must wash that hated color away...that is how we can all restore ourselves to harmony
If given two roads that lead no where good...stop using roads and carve your own path.

Segev

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2012, 03:57:52 PM »
I can't right now for a few time constraint reasons, but later on I will try to reformulate my message in the first Kibun-mentioning thread and try to write a proper formal letter from the community. I have a means of gaining semi-direct access to business people, but it has been only marginally successful so far. I think this may be a good avenue to pursue, nonetheless. The goal will be to show that we are actively attempting to help them preserve kibun but that we are NOT giving up, to invite them to take part in activities which might increase their Face (a part of kibun) along side us, and invite them to come back to the negotiating table so we can explore more innovative solutions to whatever problems got in the way this last round.

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2012, 04:04:06 PM »

Red enough?

Optimism Penguin

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2012, 04:16:41 PM »
Nice research.  I think a helpful phrase you might want to look up in addition is 체면 (pronounced cheh myun), as it is the Korean concept for face or more pertinently saving face.  I'm impressed by the depth of the explanations you found for 기분 (kibun) and 눈치 (nunchi), though to be honest it really depends on what level of society you are dealing with as to how deep those concepts stay true.  The younger generations are every so slowly becoming more western, and the older ones are digging in all the harder.  Though with business its probably a safe bet to assume the older/more traditionally focused people are running the show.

Seriously though, the saving face bit is probably a good avenue to go down if you've got the time.  I really haven't had any lately, so my contributions here have been virtually nonexistent.

Thanks for kicking ass in the research StarRanger.

-Opti   

Vulpy

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2012, 04:30:22 PM »
Red enough?

I'm...not so sure this is a productive way to express our sentiments... ^.^
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chaparralshrub

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2012, 04:51:55 PM »
Well, there is a serious question here. Do we (1) try to help NCSoft repair their kibun , or do we threaten to utterly destroy their kibun? Doing the latter could cause a major paradigm shift, or it could backfire badly.

unladenswallow

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2012, 04:52:20 PM »
A very good example is that if person is to be let go, they will generally be told on the Friday evening and told not to return to work to finish up, because the persons kibun would already be hurt there would be no reason to make it worse having them work (this is good nunchi).

I suppose this may explain the abruptness of the termination of the game. I would have thought that given this social concept of theirs and the fact that they are an international corporation, that they would realize that what they view as respectful in Korea may be viewed as an affront by other cultures and they should have taken our (Paragon Studios and the players) concepts of what is socially appropriate in consideration. If they didn't this is telling of them. What it says about them is up to speculation. The only guesses I have are:

they didn't pay close enough attention to our cultural morays,

they are only concerned about how they appear to their own countrymen in how they deal with us

Or they are wholy unconcerned with us

Just to be clear I'm sure there are more possibilities than the ones I pointed out above.
 
However there is the nature of the corporate world to take in consideration as well. While I'm sure local customs are adhered to the nature of how the corporate ladder is structured makes it far far easier for an uncaring sociopath to succeed rather someone who is more compassionate. I could go into more detail about this assertion but I'm assuming most people will know of what I am referring to. If not I can give a more detailed explanation if I need to.
 
I would think that it would be far more likely that we are dealing with uncaring corporate heads that only give "lip service" to their local customs such as Kibun, as corporations do here in the US and we should give this reality of the corporate world similar consideration as well.
 
Since we are all geeks and nerds here I'll use a D&D term most of us here are familiar with. Corporate executives are frequently Lawful Evil.
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Segev

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2012, 05:35:02 PM »
I strongly disagree with the characterization that Corporate Executives are "frequently" evil of any stripe. Power does attract corrputable and corrupt people, but many executives - I would venture even the majority - are just men and women trying to do their best for themselves, their families, and their companies. Hanlon's Razor is in full effect, most of the time.

I would further venture that, especially in line with the kibun concept, characterizing them as evil is wholly and utterly counterproductive. We are not at war in a literal, guns-blazing sense, and since that won't happen in this context, we should not dehumanize anybody involved. And characterizations as blanket and black as "evil" have dehumanizing effects.

DrakeGrimm

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2012, 05:35:23 PM »
This is an amazingly huge amount of cultural information. Thank you, first of all, for digging it up.

This is far too much information for me to digest at this point, but I'll be picking it apart in the coming days. Time to Know Thy Enemy...
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Chaos Ex Machina

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2012, 06:01:41 PM »
Well, there is a serious question here. Do we (1) try to help NCSoft repair their kibun , or do we threaten to utterly destroy their kibun? Doing the latter could cause a major paradigm shift, or it could backfire badly.

Positivity may accomplish a lot more.

unladenswallow

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2012, 06:02:48 PM »
I strongly disagree with the characterization that Corporate Executives are "frequently" evil of any stripe. Power does attract corrputable and corrupt people, but many executives - I would venture even the majority - are just men and women trying to do their best for themselves, their families, and their companies. Hanlon's Razor is in full effect, most of the time.

Yes I am aware that many of them are just doing what is best for them and their families and are not inherently evil. However cognitive dissonance can allow for all sorts of evil or just thoughtless actions by using just following orders or doing what is best for the company as as either conformation bias or adaptive preference formation by moral people who would normally not do something comparable in their personal lives. People who work for insurance companies that search for reasons to deny people claims to save the company money even though the policy clearly states that they should be covered, even if a person may die without financial help is a good example of what I am referring to.

I would further venture that, especially in line with the kibun concept, characterizing them as evil is wholly and utterly counterproductive. We are not at war in a literal, guns-blazing sense, and since that won't happen in this context, we should not dehumanize anybody involved. And characterizations as blanket and black as "evil" have dehumanizing effects.

I made no such blanket assertion nor did I "dehumanize" anyone. I just said this should be directly considered as well.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2012, 06:16:23 PM by unladenswallow »
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unladenswallow

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2012, 06:29:53 PM »
I'd also like to point out that these general assertions were NOT directed at the "Korean corporate world" but the corporate world in general. Which is not restricted by national boundaries.
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Vulpy

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2012, 07:47:07 PM »
they didn't pay close enough attention to our cultural morays,

they are only concerned about how they appear to their own countrymen in how they deal with us

Or they are wholy unconcerned with us

Just to be clear I'm sure there are more possibilities than the ones I pointed out above.

NCsoft's apparent decision to refocus on Korean and Chinese products, their dismissal of Paragon Studios on a Friday afternoon, and their perceived silence after the fact could all be construed as cultural blindness that approaches insular malignance by some. I am not one of those people, but I can see how the conclusion could be drawn.
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chaparralshrub

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2012, 07:55:28 PM »
Well, they do care about what we're doing, because otherwise they wouldn't be making these announcements to us. They may only care because we can potentially destroy their future profit margin, but they do care about that.

So we should keep doing what we are doing, I'd say. If we do wind up causing their western market to fall through, it might force a change in management. And if not, then at least we have some small part of our revenge.

Lock-On

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Re: Korean Kibun
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2012, 07:59:51 PM »
NCsoft's apparent decision to refocus on Korean and Chinese products, their dismissal of Paragon Studios on a Friday afternoon, and their perceived silence after the fact could all be construed as cultural blindness that approaches insular malignance by some. I am not one of those people, but I can see how the conclusion could be drawn.

Actually a few of those things can be construed as very Kibun things to do.  The Friday closure, the silence after the fact, even their announcement from yesterday, when viewed through the light of Kibun are indicators that they are strongly following their own cultural mores here.  Knowing that, gives us the ability to craft our messages to better appeal to that portion of their sensibilities.  It's something that I think may ultimately have a stronger impact on them then any financial argument.