Ms. Angela Joo-Hyun Kang, Founder and Executive President, Global Competitiveness Empowerment Forum(GCEF) wrote the column for the June 2016 Issue of 'Hyundai Motor Group Vehicle Unit R&D Division Newsletter', published by Hyundai Motor Group.
<Global Mindset Needed for Global Corporate Citizenship>
As multinational enterprises stride across the globe, what is as much important as globalization is localization, respecting local economic, political, social, cultural, and religious aspects. So, combination of the two, so-called, glocalization, is essential. Without accommodating diversity of local culture and practices, a company may ultimately be turned away from its local customers and community.
Glocalization highlights the key roles of employees at all levels of local offices. As a compass is an essential item for a ship on open seas, they play a critical role like a compass in applying geopolitical, demographic, social, and psychological aspects of local customers and community into Hyundai Motor Company’s glocalbusiness. Then, what are needed for further development of Hyundai Motor Company with consideration of glocalization?
Firsty, innovative thinking for inclusive growth is needed. Chairman Chung Mong-Koo of Hyundai Motor Group introduced ‘securing future competitiveness through innovation’ as the business management goal of 2016 in his new year’s address. Car driving culture varies country by country depending on positionof a driver, parking condition, driving habit, and daily life style. Therefore, engineers must use their innovative thinking to consider locality to make much smarter cars, as the use of cars will take up much of people’s daily lives beyond just a transportation method. LG Electronics recognized the importance of prayer by Muslims after its thorough study of daily life of Muslim customers. So, it incorporated this feature into its new product and launched, so-called, the Mecca phone that sounds alarms five times a day for prayers with the rejection notification function of incoming calls to callers during prayers. The innovativethinking of researchers considering life style of 1.2 billion Muslims resulted in innovative production of this product.
Secondly, sensitivity for embracing diversity is essential. In-depth understanding ofdiversity and applying it into products can enhance global competitiveness. In thislight, engineers need to respect their colleagues from different cultures and embrace their ideas. They need to identify the differences between their ideas and thoughts of the people from different cultures and countries and come up with creative ideas together. In 2009, I had a chance to visit the R&D center of Whirlpool, a US home appliances brand, in India. Researchers were running tests on washing machines from different global and Indian brands day and night to find differences. Their efforts generated the idea for the new product that fits the local market better to wash the traditional and casual clothes that Indians mostly wear. Sensitivity for embracing diversity and passion for realizing in reality made their efforts possible. This also interlinks with one of core values of Hyundai Motor Group, which is ‘putting the customer first’.
Lastly, responsibility as a global business leader is required. Hyundai Motor Company endeavors, not to become the biggest automobile seller, but to be the most beloved automaker by customers around the world. For this, engineers need to pay attention to commonality as much as difference. Caux Round Table, a gathering of US, European, and Japanese business people, undertook the comparative analysis of holy scriptures about Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism etc. and found the common principles for global companies to comply with. One of them is ‘to be honest to customers’. Recent scandals of Nissan’s emissions and Volkswagen’s fuel efficiency resulted from the attitude of not being honest to customers. The misbehaviors of these successful companies let the customers that trusted these companies down. Deceiving customers may even lead to collapse of a company. We should not forget that serving customers honestly is the most basic and common principle of business management for trust building with customers that applies to all cultures, races, and religions.
Now, it’s time to go back to Hyundai Motor Group’s vision, “Together for a better future”. To realize this vision, engineers should respect the values we commonly share. The core virtue in the globalized and diversified world is to understand human beings. Engineers need to focus on core essence of humanity for their research and development. So far, Hyundai Motor Company has opened windows of new possibilities. It has made impossible things possible. At the center of this process, there were hard works of the engineers who researched lives of customers beyond just vehicles. Their endeavors to develop cars most fit for lives of customers still continues by analyzing algorithms of human cognitive actions and recognizing gazes, facial expressions, gestures, and spoken languages based on the research on human factors. Cars are unable to intervene into livesof customers, whom to meet and how to change, but may be able to help customers to love themselves and people around and feel happier in the cars by providing new experiences. Their efforts must be continued to that end.
New future can be opened through the process of pursing diverse values and universal humanity, with and for customers. Employees at all levels of local offices can be the leaders who can realize impacts of cars to lives of people and society in reality and become the partners to help them fulfill their dreams, and the catalysts to make a positive difference in the new future.