Practicing the Company Philosophy to Survive: The Competitive World of Samsung Group
This chapter examines the penetration and diffusion of Samsung’s management philosophy throughout the Samsung Group in South Korea. Samsung is the largest conglomerate in Korea and includes Samsung Electronics, Korea’s largest manufacturer of consumer electronics that is involved in the business of electronic parts, electronics, machinery, heavy industry, chemical, finance and insurance, and construction. The rapid growth of Samsung, especially Samsung Electronics, has attracted worldwide attention. Samsung has been studied from the perspective of management strategy. However, little attention has been given to the penetration and diffusion of Samsung’s management philosophy. Based on existing literature and interviews with ex-employees of Samsung and their families, I find that the mechanism through which Samsung propagates its company philosophy is by employing “message-driven management,” using strong messages, suggestive parables, and impressive performances. I explore the developments involved in this process by first presenting an overview of the history of Samsung from its founding to the present. Then, I discuss the management philosophy of Samsung. Finally, I analyze how Samsung’s management philosophy has penetrated the company’s culture and has been diffused among employees.
This chapter is a revised version of Iwai (2003).
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