Corporate Title System in Korea


Hierarchy at the workplace










Article as PDF download (with tables and pictures)


 - Corporate Title System in Korea -


All Korean relationships are strongly influenced by the Confucian heritage giving a special meaning to seniors and superiors and putting everyone into a hierarchy. People respect those older than them or higher in rank not only by behavior but also using honorific language and by addressing them according to a specific title system. There are certain titles used amongst the family members and even for strangers to structure the communication. A workplace has also its own specific rules in that regard as they might be slightly confusing for foreigners. However a bit of explanation helps to acquire a better understanding of this business etiquette.

Not only there are the Korean hierarchical titles existing at workplace but they are also actively used by the coworkers when talking to each other. Sometimes you don’t have to remember someone’s name and using a corporate title instead can never be wrong in a Korean corporate world. While talking to business partners, clients or suppliers, the titles help to streamline the communication and identify the proper contact person that would be from the same hierarchical level within the organization.

The following section will give you a brief overview on the titles used among the company members and in the everyday Korean business world.


Directive/Executive Management Titles

In Korea, larger companies naturally tend to have a more comprehensive title system than smaller companies. The following is an overview of the titles, whereby smaller companies may omit some levels.





Field/Non-Directive Management Titles

In the Korean corporate world there is a title for a single employee. Once one enters the organization after certain time one will be promoted within the hierarchical structure and acquire a new corporate title. Starting from the freshman there are certain levels to go through to become a real manager. The following table presents the title system used for non-directive management titles.




Nowak & Partner can advise you on the hierarchical structure and corporate title use within your organization in Korea.

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