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What is the Solution to the Anti-Samsung Sentiment?

Posted June. 02, 2005 06:24,   


“Let’s step up our efforts for ‘co-existence and sharing’ management in order to become the company that represents Korea.”

“If we are too concerned about the anti-sentiment towards Samsung and pursue management toward downsizing, we may end up facing resistance from the public for failing to live up to their expectations.”

The Samsung executives’ meeting was held in the grand meeting room on the 27th floor of the Samsung headquarters in Taepyeongno, Jung-gu, Seoul on Wednesday.

On the issue of how to deal with “the antagonism to Samsung” that is running high in some sectors of Korean society, the CEOs held a lively discussion for two hours starting from 8:00 a.m.

Among the 40-strong participants were the Chief of the Corporate Restructuring Head Office Lee Hak-soo, Vice Presidents Yoon Jong-yong and Lee Yoon-wu, presidents of major affiliates, the president of the restructuring head office, and team heads.


A president of an affiliate said, “We should humbly accept the intensifying criticism as a call for better management.”

His argument is that Samsung should be generous enough to accept criticism in order to become Korea’s top company, even though some expressions such as “Samsung Republic” and “country for Samsung” are much overblown and emotional.

“Even though most Koreans like Samsung and only one percent of the population hates us, we should pay heed to the voices of the opposition.”

There were counterarguments. A participant said, “At a time when anti-Samsung sentiment is widespread, the criticism will continue unless Samsung downsize itself.”

He added his concern, saying, “However, downsizing will invite resistance from the public.”

Some insisted that business leaders should join forces in creating several global companies in Korea that can match Samsung.

A CEO of an affiliate expressed his regret, “There is a need to create a business-friendly environment that boosts the morale of companies and business leaders if Korea wants to realize the goal of a per capita income of $20,000 or $30,000.”

However, some countered that the insistence that several global companies should be created in Korea is not a realistic alternative.

A CEO said, “At a time when jealousy and envy of the top company is widespread, the argument that we need to urge lagging companies to catch up with the top company is not compelling. It is time for us to make efforts to become the ‘humble top’.’’

Another participant said, “Considering the current status of Samsung, executives should display modest and humble attitudes.”

Having lively discussions, the CEOs of Samsung affiliates reached an agreement on three measures in order to become the company that represents Korea: Samsung should contribute more to society and show considerations to partner companies and SMEs (small and mid-sized companies); Samsung should diversify communication channels to listen humbly to minorities; and Samsung should redouble efforts to help other companies grow into global companies.

Samsung’s chairman was quoted by an executive as saying, “Samsung should take further steps to become a ‘respected company’ instead of becoming just a ‘good company’ and we need to seek solutions for the goal.”