Monday, February 26, 2007

Key Uncertainties for the Korean Higher Education Industry


Q: Will local governments gain more freedom and autonomy? A: Medium no.

Given the tendency of Korean political reforms to coincide with financial crises such as the IMF bailouts of 1997 public pressure may help to redefine democracy but only from a central leadership role and only perhaps if voter sentiment can be kindled to perceive candidates who are serious about putting local policies in the hands of local administrations.

Q: Will the topic of chaebol reforms again become the focus of political reforms?
A: Medium yes.

The recent conviction of Hyundai Motors Chairman Chung Mong Koo portends that 2007 truly is a period of change in the relationship between family managed corporations and implies a movement towards greater transparency not only to reduce the “Korean discount” for increased FDI but also to reorient local perspectives on the terms of stakeholder interests.


Q: Will employment retraining gain an important position in the educational sector?
A: Medium yes.

Koreans spend more per capita upon educating their children than any other OECD nation. If the choice is made for them by the employment sector Koreans will naturally need to reskill and retrain. However if this comes at the expense of their children’s competitiveness they are more likely to sacrifice their own earning potentials for those of the next generation thus the trend adequately depicts reality in some ways to suggest that is already the case.

Q: Will the US economy improve?
A: Medium yes.

Current Federal Reserve Board Chairman Dr. Ben S. Bernanke has yet to perhaps prove his skills on the swizzle stick of fiscal responsibilities to a global investor audience. While currency fluctuations do not appear to rely heavily upon speculators interests the overarching market forces at present suggest that US consumers might push for alternative fuels and thus minimize production costs over the next five years in terms of global oil consumption. However continued over-reliance on short-term consumer debt could perpetuate a great bursting of the real estate markets which would be incredibly devastating. However the globe’s most prolific monetary unit, of which there may be no accurate accounting of its actual total currency in circulation is also the globe’s most pernicious net debtor of loans in its own funds and as a most ravenous consumer of capital goods (thanks to Leontieff's Principle) the US economy continues to careen through the wilds of international balances of payments repeatedly disproving the collective theories of market economics and seemingly exempt from displaying any serious fiscal reforms-minded fuss.


Q: Will hallyu and Korean cultural exports continue to gain ground? A: Weak yes.

Asian experts suggest that the hallyu wave is set to reduce demand due to its own success.
Recommendations include greater development of foreign partners, and a long term perspective to creating global distribution channels with the prediction that, “If not, hallyu can last no longer than five years” (Park, C.A., 2005). Due to popularity regional costs for Korean cultural products have sky-rocketed. Perhaps the next great wave will originate in Mongolia (again).

Q: Will Korean nationalism continue to grow? A: Strong no.

It is felt that the youth of Korea due to high unemployment rates and a growing sense of national self-determinism contribute to a new paradigm understanding of post Korean War, post Cold War status quos in which North Korea is often perceived not as an aggressor or evil enemy but a pathetic victim of the politics of imperialist powers(Kim, J.Y., 2006). However possible changes in demographics, technologies, and economic uncertainties along with the view that with age experience grows and with experience thus wisdom knows these proponents of anti-Americanism, anti-free trade and anti-foreign influences will overcome possible ignorance concerning the real issues surrounding the North which is the incredible costs inherent in any reunification strategies.


Q: Will the Korean birth rate continue to decline? A: Strong yes.

A preference for male children is a common cultural trait among East Asians and Koreans are no exception. Thus it is a significant factor in demographics which requires further influence of government and civil organizations to stimulate population policymakers. Research indicates that, “child sex determination and sex-selective abortion were available and affordable to South Korean households as early as the late 1970s before the unbalanced sex ratio became widely recognized as a social problem” (Lee & Paik, 2005:19). It also represented a peak period in abortion rates of male and female fetuses. Noticeable over the last decade are mobile vans which patrol regional rural areas emblazoned with banners and bullhorns advertising “Vietnamese virgins” or the like from developing south-east Asian nations as suitable international marriage partners. The rural Korean agricultural population has also seen some of the most rapid and present declines in locally available women for marriage to bachelor farmers or low-skilled, low income single men. Such areas also provide some of the highest rates of aging in Gangwon and Cholla Provinces for example women once locally available have relocated to the cities to take advantage of increases in more competitive rates for employment and the higher earning potentials of suitable urban males as marriage partners. International marriages have increased from 1.2 % as of 1990 to 13.6% of national totals in 2005; foreign brides have represented only 0.2% and 9.9% of those statistics (Kim, J., 2007: 12) which provokes a claim that a, “continuing decline of fertility below the replacement rate since 1983 is accompanied by…changes in …various aspects of fertility including…delay in marriage and childbearing, an increase in…childlessness and (a) movement toward…gender equity at birth” (Ibid., 2007: 24). Additional externalities claim the cost of having a child in 2005 amounted to 124% of the rate of GDP per person in Korea and that this greatest impediment to increasing birth rates locally is a concern over cost absorption.

Q: Will the proportion of older Korean workers continue to increase?
A: Strong yes.

Per capita GNP as of 2004 stood at USD 14, 462 which represents a total governmental tax income not currently exceeding 20% to provide for social welfare programs and national pension benefits of which many recipients total incomes often provide lower than actual living costs (Kim, J.S., 2007). In addition, citizens requiring social assistance have increased four fold since 1995 of which the majority are elderly recipients who remain at home representing 26% of national social support and 29% of total rural clients in a ratio which represents 2.7% of the total Korean population and a rate approximately ten times higher than comparative Japanese statistics supplemented by a ratio of total elderly approaching 8.4% living in below subsistence poverty. Concurrently such increases in aging and elderly pension disbursements cause concern that the National Pension will go bankrupt much sooner than a previously anticipated date of destruction as of 2050. Concurrently 36% of the elderly are supported financially by their children and a further 69% of that total or 40% of the entire retired population already continues to earn an income from some form of work just to maintain a minimum poverty line existence. While the vast majority continues to live independently nursing care facilities have mushroomed in local terms from 18 in 1990 to 341 in 2004. Incredibly it is further noted that elderly over the age of eighty already represent income from work which accounts for 47.7% of their earnings and only 74.6% of these totals receive any form of support from their children. A final note regards the costs of securing minimum social welfare which will only be multiplied exponentially in the event of possible impending reunification outlays if Germany actually does serve as a reasonable cost benefit model for the Korean case.

Q: Will cell-phone technology continue to increase in ubiquity?
A: Strong yes.

Predictions of miniaturization made within the last decade not only by Bill Gates but also observers of Japanese electronics research and development indicate that the next possible revolution is the epitome in terms of electronics as described by an acolyte of Educause that, “cell phones will be the Swiss Army knives of the next century”(Livingston, 2004).

Q: Will design modifications functionalize mobility in education? A: Strong yes.

Termed “m-learning” new frameworks for sharing virtual data are increasingly available globally at any connection hub in space and time which the American National Science Foundation has termed, “cyberinfrastructure.” An emergent trend called “learning swarms” or the ability to distribute cooperative operations effectively through which learning participants are able to fade and disperse into routine lifestyles and then converge suddenly by prearranged synchronizations and share information on particular targets is already in practice at institutions such as MIT, Dartmouth University and American University (Alexander, 2004: 32). According to the Korean Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Energy online education has developed exponentially to meet current high demands among a student public who often define their sense of style and fashion through mobile technology. E-learning in its basic form grew by 10% year on year in 2006 where private and corporate sectors exceeded public demand with incremental increases of 63% in the number of companies delivering online educational services since 2005. Additional growth in employment provided 19.1% increases in workforce (Yonhap News, 2007). The majority of higher education institutions being private reflects a continued increase in internet learning which should provoke a similar emergent trend in transition to m-learning within two to three years which support cell-phones superseding a need for lap top computers especially if full-sized light projected and data sensitive keyboards and displays become commonplace (The Horizon Report, 2007: 15).


Alexander, B. (2004) “Going Nomadic: Mobile Learning in Higher Education”, Educause Review, September/October 2004, Educause Learning Initiative, Washington, D.C., pp. 28-35. [Accessed: February 26, 2007]

Anonymous (2007) The Horizon Report: 2007 Edition, New Media Consortium, Educause Learning Initiative, Austin, Texas, Boulder, Colorado. [Accessed: February 26, 2007]

Anonymous (2007) “S. Korean online education market expands sharply in 2006”, Yonhap News, January 10, 2007, Yonhap News Agency, Seoul, Korea [Accessed: February 26, 2007]

Kim, J. H. (2007) “Recent Fertility Decline and Its Implication for Population Policy in Korea”, International Symposium on Social Policy in Asia, January 31, 2007, Public Economics Group, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Japan.
[Accessed: February 26, 2007]

Kim, J.S. (2007) “The New Strategies of Welfare and Labour for the Ageing Society in the ROK”, International Symposium on Social Policy in Asia, January 31, 2007, Public Economics Group, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Japan. [Accessed: February 26, 2007]

Kim, J.Y. (2006) "Pan-Korean Nationalism, Anti-Great Power-ism and U.S.-South Korean Relations", Policy Forum Online, 06-01A: January 4th, 2006, Nautilus Institute, San Francisco and Melbourne.
[Accessed: February 26, 2007]

Lee, J.M. & Paik, M.H. (2005) “Sex Preferences and Fertility in South Korea during the Year of the Horse”, Demography, Volume 43, Number 2, May 2006, Population Association of America, Silver Spring, MD, pp. 269-292. [Accessed: February 26, 2007]

Livingston, A. (2004) “Smart Phones and Other Mobile Devices: The Swiss Army Knives of the 21st Century”, Educause Quarterly, No. 2, 2004, Educause Learning Initiative, Washington, D.C., pp. 46-52. [Accessed: February 26, 2007]

Park, C.A. (2005) “Is 'Hallyu' a One-Way Street?”, The Korea Times, April 21, 2005, The Korea Times Company, Seoul, Korea.
[Accessed: February 26, 2007]

Sunday, February 25, 2007

An Analysis of Selected Trends in Contemporary South Korea

An Analysis of Selected Trends in Contemporary South Korea
POLITICAL TRENDS: A first trend may be identified in contemporary democratic South Korea with declining voter turnouts which have fallen from 68% in 1995 in the outset of popular democracy to 51% as of 2006 (Park, 2006: 16) and reflects a stagnation in the progress of local democratic governance. A debate concerning the opportunities for popular politics with greater inequities versus greater pluralism and widely dispersed equalities comprises several root causes which include centralized or national constraints on local relations, a nationalization of local politics, institutions and practices which provide most power and decision making to mayors alone, followed by economic and social groups which are considered increasingly involved while at the same time atomized rather than active and passive rather than particular. Popularist belief systems are also considered largely marginalized, while community power structures and local or civic empowerment or involvement remains in the hands of centralized national authority (Park, C.M., 2006). Local government is also described as, “substantially limited” in function (Ibid, 2006: 12) and, “not free to make decisions on local needs and priorities” (Ibid, 2006: 13).

A second trend occurring at the national level reflects an increasing intolerance for corrupt corporate governance proceedings at the Department of Public Prosecutors and the Office of the President often questionably supported by a marginally active Korean voting public. The administrations of Kim Dae Jung and Roh Mu Hyun are considered to have affected increasing regulatory oversight and legislating limitations upon BOD and CEO controls due to increasing pressures from the IMF and proponents of FDI (Bramble and Ollett, 2004: 15). Political reforms have grown more antagonized and weakened at the same time as the perceived benefits to social partnership, dialogue and cooperation among government, industry and unionized employees has been nullified through increased corporatism. Social partnership building necessary to support regulatory reforms are evidenced by recent scandals concerning Hyundai Motors and Samsung Electronics where trade unions are seen to have abandoned the topic of chaebol reforms (Baccaro & Lim, 2006: 15) while prosecutors are considered to be revealing questionable effectiveness (Kim, 1998: 36-42 in Costello, 2006) .

ECONOMIC TRENDS: A first trend is in employment where service industries are seen to be rising to 76% of workers as of 2010 from a rate of 72.8 % as of 2004 (Lee, Y.H., 2004: 16) with managers, technical staff and professional categories increasing while semi and low skilled labourers percentages are falling. In addition nearly half the working population is employed in irregular or short term positions, be they temporary or daily contracts which continue to grow implicating not only continued educational programs for youth but necessarily increased retraining programs for aging or mature workers. Further globalization is projected to require more workers with, “analytical, communication and collaboration skills” than currently available (Ibid, 2004: 19). Also a polarization of jobs available in the top 30% and bottom 30% pay ranges has seen a continued reduction in middle income positions which may be a future impediment to continued economic growth. Youth unemployment in itself is also seen to be double the average OECD members at 7.9% as of 2004.

A second trend reveals that interest rates and currency exchange rates with the US dollar will continue to be effected by global considerations such as the price of oil which has affected a downturn in industrial output since the end of 2006 decelerating exports due to weak US demands however supporting continued export trade volumes increases with Europe (Chan, 2007). This trend is considered difficult to determine due to persistent variability however Korea’s policy is described as “independent or free floating” with little interventionist practices according to IMF classifications and there appears little evidence to suggest indirect influences (Frankel, 2003; Bubula & Otker-Robe, 2002 in Willet & Kim, 2006: 6 & 7).

CULTURAL TRENDS: A first trend is the increasing importance of cultural export particularly in intra-regional cultural exchange known as the "Korean wave" or hallyu which is impacting upon inter-Asian media consumption patterns and Koreans perception of their own culture from an increasingly globalized perspective. This has provoked Chinese consumers to associate Korea and Korean products with fashion and style (Onishi, 2006). Revenues from hallyu products such as TV mini-series, soap operas, musical performers and associated tourism has doubled over a period of three years from 2002 to 2005 also including online gaming global usage all with a total increase from USD 500 million to over a billion in total revenue (Ramesh, 2005: 1). This consumption of Korean cultural commodities has, “increased visibly” (Lee, T., 2005 in Yin & Liew, 2005: 214) and has made Korea, “one of the hottest new travel destinations for hallyu consumers” in Singapore, China and Japan (Yin & Liew, 2005: 217). Research indicates that this cultural development perhaps “makes people like Korea more” and provides alternatives to news media reports and images highlighting student or union protests (Park, 2004: 288).

While the relationship with North Korea is considered as a serious political concern globally it represents a form of cultural stalemate and is thus necessarily excluded from detailed political analysis under consideration as a cultural trend. However contemporary South Korean society tends to focus on the future of Korean culture rather than the North. A brief digression into the topic reveals that there are, “a confluence of trends…that the U.S.-ROK alliance is slowly but steadily approaching a moment of change likely to occur in the next South Korean administration” which remains as useful a summation of the whirlpool of uncertainty on the topic of North-South relations at present (Cha, 2002:105). A survey in 2000 revealed that Koreans have strong attachments to other Korean communities including the North which reinforces that a possible trend towards ethnic nationalism is taking place (Shin, 2006). This difficult to substantiate movement carries strong weight as it has expropriated the terms of globalization through growing efforts to maintain and preserve national culture and heritage. While this in itself is perhaps beneficial the possible racist overtones in particular of note to migrant and itinerant labour in the country is seen as a suitable response to the perceived growing threat of US influence increasing in terms of possible reunification (Ibid, 2006:132).

DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS: A first trend is the declining birth rate found to be one of the lowest in the world at an average of 1.1 children per woman as of 2006 according to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) (The Korea Times, 2006). Local initiatives to increase the rate of births include parental tax breaks, benefits in the area of social insurance and childcare subsidies. However a United Nations Population Division report in 2000 concluded that the only viable solutions included drastically increasing immigration rates beyond past levels with the dire warning that, "projected population decline and population ageing will have profound and far-reaching consequences, forcing governments to reassess many established economic, social and political policies and programmes, including those relating to international migration." (UN Population Division, 2000 in Wickramasekera, 2000:14). The report also definitively states that international migration is the only option which will effectively reduce declines in the short to mid term to maintain minimum support ratios.

A second trend directly linked to the first is a growing proportion of older workers in the nation which reveals that the percentage of elderly in the population was 9.1% in 2005 increasing to 10.9% by 2010 and to 37.3% by 2050 (Gey, 2006). This trend implicates worker retirement ages and it is suggested prior to 2050 the retirement age should be raised to 85 to mitigate increases in life expectancy which suggest that workers within the next two decades will need to work until the age of 75 and increase senior work support programs due to pension and traditional support services collapse (Staines, 2006).

TECHNOLOGICAL TRENDS: A first trend is the increasing importance of cellular phone technology. Korea along with Japan represents the highest rate of cellular phone usage in the world as there were 37.4 million users locally in Korea as of 2005 which represent a market penetration of 76.7 percent (Shim, J.P., 2005:8). These statistics are expected to increase further as satellite digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) came online in 2005 at SK Telecom which is Korea’s largest provider (Koreas IT Times, 2005). Ubiquitous computing or “u-commerce” which integrates cell phones with other electronic devices, home appliances and internet media is expected to grow exponentially and estimated to contribute over 15 billion dollars in Korean export earnings as of 2008 (Kim, D.H., 2003). A derivative termed “u-business” includes dynamic growth in financial services applications in the nation which provides evidence to suggest that customer transactions and trust factors are rising due to increases in context-based marketing, user control over transactions, responsiveness of businesses to enquiries, increasing connectedness of users, increasing ubiquitous interconnectivities, and a trend towards re-contextualizing the business services marketplace (Lee, T.M., 2005: 176). Researchers observing this phenomena note that usage limitations include small sized screens, performance restrictions, a lack of truly mobile learning programs and a need for design alternatives to functionalize mobility in education (Lee, Yamada, Shimizu, Shinohara, & Hada, 2005).


Anonymous (2006) “South Korea, Taiwan Have World’s Lowest Birth Rate”, The Korea Times, August 19, 2006 at EU-Korea Industrial Cooperation Agency, Brussels, Belgium. [Accessed: February 11, 2007]

Anonymous (2005) “DMB Projected to be Bigger than Satellite Broadcasting”, Korea IT Times Magazine, Vol.7, January 2005, IT Times Company, Seoul, Korea.
[Accessed: February 25, 2007]

Baccaro,L. & Lim, S.H. (2006) “Social pacts as coalitions of ‘weak’ and ‘moderate’: Ireland, Italy and South Korea in comparative perspective”, Centro Studi Marco Biagi, International Institute for Labour Studies, Discussion Paper, DP 162, 2006, Fondazione Marco Biagi, Bologna, Italy.
[Accessed: February 25, 2007]

Chan, A. (2007) “Asian Weekly Economic Insights”, Global Economic Research, Alliance Bernstein, New York. [Accessed: February 25, 2007]

Costello, D.J. (2006)” Changing Hyundai Motors: ‘Myeol sa bong gong’?”, Working Paper, December, 2006, Cross Cultural Reviews, Pocheon, Korea. [Accessed: February 25, 2007]

Gey, P. (2006) “Global Aging: Facing the Challenges of Demographic Transition”, Publications, 2006, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Korea, Korea Cooperation Office, Seoul, Korea.
[Accessed: February 25, 2007]

Kim, D.H. (2003) “Wiring Korea- (9) Ubiquitous Computing Becomes Reality in Korea”, The Korea Times, April 6, 2003, Korea Times Company, Seoul, Korea. [Accessed: February 25, 2007]

Lee, I., Yamada, T., Shimizu, Y., Shinohara, M. & Hada, Y. (2005) “In Search of the Mobile Learning Paradigm as We Are Going Nomadic” in Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2005, Montreal, Canada, June 27, 2005, Education and Information Technology Library (formerly AACE), Chesapeake, VA, , pp. 2888-2893.
[Accessed: February 16, 2007]

Lee, T. M. (2005) “The Impact of Perceptions of Interactivity on Customer Trust and Transaction Intentions in Mobile Commerce”, Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, Vol. 6, No. 3, 2005, California State University, Long Beach. [Accessed: February 25, 2007]

Lee, Y. H. (2004) “Employment Trends and Workforce Development Policy in Republic of Korea”, Paper, Asian Development Bank Institute, Tokyo, Japan. [Accessed: February 25, 2007]

Onishi, N. (2006) “A rising Korean wave: If Seoul sells it, China craves it.”, in The New York Times at International Herald Tribune, Asia-Pacific, Tuesday, January 10, 2006, Neuilly, Cedex, France. [Accessed: February 25, 2007]

Park, C.M. (2006) “Local Governance and Community Power in Korea”, The Korea Journal, Vol. 46, No. 4, Winter. 2006, Korean Cultural UNESCO, Seoul, Korea, pp. 9-32. [Accessed: February 25, 2007]

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Competitive Analysis of Daejin University

Competitive Analysis of Daejin University

Key Success Factors

Identification of key success factors (KSFs) through an analysis of the Korean higher education sector reveals value drivers at present include an ability to transnationalize studies, liberalize services, absorb overseas studies in the domestic market, and reduce deficits of foreign studies necessary to maintain competitiveness in tune with WTO open market requirements as well as pending free trade negotiations with The USA (Lee, M.H., 2006: 91).

Transnationalisation of Studies

Daejin University is an early participant in its Chinese employment market orientation within the Korean educational sector. However it is indicative of a modern day East Asian Regionalism movement which has seen intra-regional trade grow to nearly half of total trade in the last twenty years (Evans, 2003: 4). Thus it is also an example of an early developing official educational orientation to China within Korea which reinforces Evans’ thesis that the aims of such regionalism are modest and not dominant in, “regional politics, security or economics” (Evans, 2003: 7). However Koreans are the largest group of foreign students in China and at a total of 54,000 in 2007 the DUCC program represents at the most 3.7% of that total which is not a large commitment and could prove problematic when larger and more capital rich universities such as those in the top ten start up their own Chinese campus programs. However Daejin University has increased its Chinese market presence along with a 50% increase in Korean student enrollments in China since 2003. This does not include an additional 60,000 estimated in country at any one time for periods of up to three months (Lee, T.J., 2007) of which the majority of DUCC participants might be classified as the program generally runs for a term of three months with the possibility of extensions of up to twelve months. That such a large pool of independent students are participating in aligned and non-aligned programs or exchanges exists depends much upon the gaps in services currently present among leading Korean universities. Their interest in the development of regional campuses in locations such as the Songdo Educational City might represent their current growth interests mainly in securing students from provincial feeders outside of the region of Seoul. Such capital outlays could be delaying transnational campus developments among the leaders while securing national realignments in student enrollments first which on a large scale would perhaps appear easier, less fraught with risk, and more immediately profitable. In addition, Chinese based studies are appearing to draw almost as many Korean students as US universities are. It is anticipated that they will exceed them as the distance is shorter, the costs are lower, and the opportunities for employment are excellent (Lee, T.J., 2007). At the moment Daejin University appears to represent market leadership in Chinese campuses development. However Chinese studies demand is perhaps great enough to allow it to maintain a competency in this area into at least the near future even with great national competition and or similar programs development.

Liberalizing Services

The key liberalizing advantage Daejin University has over its local competitors is its progressive internationalisation program with the Daejin University Chinese Campus project (DUCC) located at Suchow (DUSC) and Harbin (DUHC) Universities which has provided a solid three years of experience to the strategic management teams and a significant head start over Korean competitors who are only at present in the planning stages of similar cooperative programs in the PRC. This first entrant advantage has proven useful not only to Daejin University but also its competitors in Korea who consider the program to be a model from which to develop along similar lines in future.

From this perspective, Daejin University seems to be demonstrating the validity of the precept that practical research at universities in developing countries contributes to the process of economic catch up in indigenous ways and indicates innovation above and beyond copying the best practices of advanced nations (Mazzoleni & Nelson, 2005: 7). One business or another has to start the process of innovation first. Daejin University has gone far beyond the normal practice of mutual exchange programs with DUCC and demonstrates not only a clear valuation of the customer demand for such a program as evidenced by current enrollments in Chinese universities but was able to ride the trend and provide the service as demanded in step with significant increases in Chinese educational services. However such popularity in Korea could make staff retention difficult if their services and their experience in incubating Chinese campus programs grow in demand from larger institutions.

Domestic Absorption of Overseas Studies

What Daejin University has done well is co-opted a desire for Chinese education into its regular studies programs through which it is able to profit highly from the diversion of tuition away from cheaper Chinese based institutions while having comparable local costs ahead of local leading institutions. This permits the DUCC program to provide export income which positively favours the balances of international trade between Korea and China on annual current accounts which is one of the aims of internationalisation in Korean education. On average Korean students spent USD 7,089 in 2006 on higher education (OECD, 2007). Assuming half of the year was spent in China, Daejin University may have been able to bank just over seven million dollars minus the 10% costs of educating these students in China for a period of three months annually and exceeding by ten times the possible profits available through in country tuition based education. Thus Daejin University is the leading Korean cooperative program provider in China but must rely upon continued approval of its programs which could be difficult if new and larger Korean institutions attempt to realign Chinese cooperation at a future point of entry into the Chinese overseas absorption market. Furthermore the scope of the programs in China are quite narrow and might benefit from expansion in future to attract students from other Korean universities during study year breaks or end of military services returnees. Finally, following research of Australian participation in education in China, Daejin University might seek to regionalize distribution to include other Chinese universities complimentary to regions of China near Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan to widen the scope of students’ studies and experience and opportunities for employment in those regions all similarly recommended to Australian institutions (Wu & Yu, 2006:217).

Foreign Studies Deficit Reduction

The current enrollment figures in DUCC programs (at a possible 2000 students in total) show a slight decline over the previous three years and the general belief is that the successful integration of Daejin University students into employment programs with Korean companies in China has been less than optimal due to the preference for employment of Ethnic Korean Chinese. Many have transited to Korea for higher studies and possess not only higher fluency in Mandarin but in addition due to Chinese nationality are more numerous thus accepting lower salaries and benefits. At present, nearly four out of five Korean students return to Korea after looking for work in China as the average monthly wage for university graduates in cities like Beijing stand at around 2,000 yuan (USD 257) while the salary in Korea may be much better between 1.2 to 2 million Korean won (USD 1,297 to 2,162). This indicates that Daejin University’s competency in this area needs improvement (Lee, T.J., 2007).

Such a situation is anticipated to provide impetus to expand the cooperative campus programs to other emerging market nations such as Vietnam and or India where locals perhaps do not possess similar language skill sets or cross-cultural experience. Such a dynamic increase in overseas studies during a regular four year program from one term to perhaps two terms or more would dramatically increase the university’s profits base assuming similar costs exist in other nations as in China. It would implicate a possibility of increasing enrollments to feed such a system. However at this time enrollments are strictly regulated by government policies which may be set to change in the near future. It would also appear that the efforts of one regional and modest university does not necessarily have any impact upon the overall aims and goals of the successful reduction of foreign studies deficits in Korean higher education even when the model appears to be working on a small scale. For example, it would be considered unacceptable for graduates of major universities such as Seoul National or Yonsei to earn a starting salary in the region of 300 dollars monthly simply due to a national perception of their educational excellence. Also by extension the Philippines would probably prove an excellent location from which to cooperatively educate Korean university students in English at a similar costs savings, deficit reduction and foreign studies absorption. However anecdotal evidence suggests that at the moment some Koreans perceive the Philippines as a cost effective yet quality poor choice for English studies development.

Core Competencies

Daejin University enrolls approximately 8000 tuition paying students at a regional rural campus within 1.5 hours northeast of downtown Seoul. Its Chinese market orientation is singular and unique in the nation and it is the first institution to orient its entire curriculum to the development of Korean students with Chinese expertise targeted to fill business and employment positions in China at Korean companies in start up and established investments there. Its core competencies include a high level of entrepreneurialism, excellent technological competencies, and successful advertising.

The level of entrepreneurship displayed by Daejin University in comparison to its national competitors is an essential core competency due to the fact that it is not within the top ten highest rated institutions in Korea or even in the Seoul metropolitan area. The design of the general studies, engineering and business programs offered at the university are intended to create internationally employable graduates providing Chinese expertise to companies operating in the PRC. Steady enrollment increases over the last few years have been credited to effective and increased marketing campaigns targeting high school graduates in the northeast region of Seoul and the successful development of online and internet based marketing which is also a vital competency as Koreans are described as, “a nation of digital guinea pigs” (Businessweek, 2002 in Shin, 2002: 6). This marketing proficiency is directly linked to the university’s level of technological competencies which were awarded high praise in 2005 by a national standards assessment organization, the Korean Council for University Education (KCUE) for having a best in category developmental strategy and vision in terms of educational support services (KCUE, 2007). It has been awarded in a category of excellence on a par with similar institutions such as Gangnam, Konkook (Choongjoo), Kyemyung, Gongjoo, Donggook (Seoul), Myungji, Sangmyung (Seoul), Sangmyung (Chunan), Sunmoon, Sungshin Women’s, Sejong, Soonchunhyang, Soongsil, Presbyterian Seminary, Hankuk Aviation, Hannam, Hansei, and Hongik (Seoul) Universities which are for the most part larger and older (Dong A Ilbo Newspaper, 2006 at Korea University Website, 2007).


Daejin University’s courses and DUCC program represent the best profit-making strategy to satisfying Korean students desire to learn Chinese and benefit from a Chinese market orientation in Korean education. The university’s core competencies also represent the methods by which first entrant advantage to a prospective market in terms of growing Chinese regional orientation can be undertaken despite perceived ranking and excel in the development of innovation despite significant future market uncertainties. While the scale of advancement has been small the significance of leadership appears to be exemplified. It is a paradox that a small regional university is setting the standard for the rest in terms of Chinese cooperative educational programs. This perhaps demonstrates Daejin University’s motto of, “Internationalisation and Specialization with General Humanist Ethics” to the point that it demonstrates how to go about it even to its competitors. It will also be interesting to note whether further progress in regional developing nations programs can be made successfully and profitably. Optimism implies that even a small piece of the profits is better than none and small steps are often better than large ones. Daejin University demonstrates concrete evidence of the possibility of Korean higher education internationalization in reality beyond, “rhetoric and disparity” (Kim, 2005:1).


Anonymous (2007) “Daejin University Information” (in Korean), University Details, Korea Council for University Education, Seoul, Korea. [Accessed: February 16, 2007]

Anonymous (2007)English Information, Daejin University Website. [Accessed: January 10, 2007]Harbin Campus (DUHC), Daejin University Website. [Accessed: January 10, 2007] Suzchow Campus(DUSC), Daejin University Website. [Accessed: January 10, 2007]

Anonymous (2006) “Indicator B1: Educational expenditure per student”, Education and Training Publications & Documents, OECD, Paris, France. [Accessed: February 17, 2007]

Anonymous (2006) “KU, First in the General Assessment of Universities” Donga Ilbo, January 21, 2006 at Campus news, Korea University, Seoul, Korea. [Accessed: February 16, 2007]

Evans, P. (2003) “Nascent Asian Regionalism and Its Implications for Canada”, Roundtable on the Foreign Policy Dialogue and Canada-Asia Relations, March 27, 2003, The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia. [Accessed: February 17, 2007]

Kim, T. (2005) “Internationalisation of Higher Education in South Korea: Reality, Rhetoric, and Disparity in Academic Culture and Identities”, Australian Journal of Education, Vol. 49, 2005, The Questia Online Library, Questia Media America, Inc., Houston, Texas [Accessed: February 17, 2007]

Lee, M.H. (2006) Transnational higher education in Korea: The tasks and prospects” in Huang F. (Ed.), Transnational Higher Education in Asia and the Pacific Region , Research Institute for Higher Education, Hiroshima University, Japan, pp. 91-108. [Accessed: February 11, 2007]

Lee, T.J. (2007)"China Is A Magnet For S. Korean Students", Straits Times, January 11 2007, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Centre, Government of Singapore.,6240 [Accessed: January 10, 2007]

Mazzoleni, R. and Nelson, R.R. (2005) “The Roles of Research at Universities and Public Labs in Economic Catch-Up”, LEM Papers Series, 2006/01, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy. [Accessed: February 16, 2007]

Shin, G.W. (2002) “The Paradox of Korean Globalization”, Working Paper, The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), Stanford University, Stanford, California. [Accessed: February 17, 2007]

Wu, M. and Yu, P. (2006)“Challenges and opportunities facing Australian universities caused by the internationalisation of Chinese higher education”, International Education Journal, 2006, 7 (3), 211-221, Shannon Research Press, Adelaide, Australia. [Accessed: February 11, 2007]

Friday, February 16, 2007

Strategic Planning versus Strategic Intent in Korea

Strategic Planning versus Strategic Intent in Korea
Mintberg, Ahlstrand and Lampel explore the diversity of opinions and research into the areas of strategic planning and strategic intent in the text, "Strategy Safari" (1998) as facets of ten schools of strategic thought compared to the allegory of the blind men and the elephant. This implies that the question of agreeing or disagreeing with Mintzberg's assertion that formal planning hampers an organization's success provides no easy answer and entails study of the precepts of the design school and the planning school.
Each represents the historical progress taken in strategic management studies through corporate cultures research from the past to the present and especially with the assumption that the formalizing of plans, steps and techniques for implementation by CEOs and BODs can provide a scientific and explicit framework to effective decision-making or a translatable cookie-cutter approach useful across sectors. Mintzberg asserts that formal top down processes cannot succeed in markets for products or services which are free and open with few barriers to innovation, creativity and or new opportunities.
It is also conducive to recognize that the majority of strategists and planners of the historical period for which the design and planning schools are most famous were turned into the business fields following the victory of a military strategy and war time management system which heavily relied upon sustaining standardized production capacities and services for military engagements where possible and thus represented the necessary advances and advantages of allied forces strategic planning which included assembly and production facilities developed in lock-step with armourments requirements and training of personnel. It is easy then to see how well formalized strategic planning fell into a perception of managerial effectiveness having had deep roots in human management techniques of decades prior heavily reliant on scientific management schemes courtesy of Frederick Taylor.
It is also a paradox to consider the second question regarding the need or provenance of formalized planning as a prerequisite to strategic intent. The globalization of businesses, technology, service and production cycles has created more dynamic factors for which businesses must prove more quickly capable of making the right decisions. Such a differentiation in process reinforces the necessity to observe the various and often conflicting perspectives on strategic thinking which Mintzberg illustrates within diagrammatic representation as a form of "seeing" ahead and behind, downward and below, beside and beyond as well as through. The dynamism of such a model is an intriguing example of the need to strategize beyond formalized processes and even before them, through them, beside them, below them, ahead and behind them.
To assume that one may not learn how to strategize from such a perspective is problematic because such processes are themselves components of the learning process which does rely heavily upon the entrepreneurial perspective of A.H. Cole in "Business Enterprise in its Social Setting" (1959) where the roots of entrepreneurialism are described in the theories of Joseph Schumpeter and consider creative destruction as being the underlying engine of capitalism and its engineer cast as the entrepreneur not only who capitalizes upon plans and structure but also he who generates original ideas. All of the phases of strategic planning are thus not necessary to the operation of strategic intent as it has been the nature of the entrepreneur throughout history to wed good ideas with financial capital and markets which sustain profit and growth. It is the scale of growth perhaps which is determined more so by specific categories of business positioning.
However large corporate entities relying heavily upon formalized planning and or the decisions of leaders not necessarily operating with entrepreneurial effectiveness to generate creative solutions to current and future challenges suffer due to regulatory processes and human nature which tends to prefer routine rather than continuous change. Mintzberg illustrates that even in large corporations strategic planning may not even exist formally which appears especially useful for effectively managed family corporations. The reliance upon entrepreneurial ideas and what is termed strategic intent in those cases is essential, as in many Korean companies, dynamism and speedy growth of a global economy can often preclude the necessity or even desirability of maintaining formalized strategic planning as the responsiveness required to excel among competitors is too great to formalize any plans.
The weakness of this form of entrepreneurial and thus strategic intent is exemplified perhaps not in the educational sector but the current leadership crisis at Hyundai Motors.This would conclude that competitors in the Asian markets originating in Korea tightly define satisfying the needs of Korean customers and clients to globalize their skills to better compete with similar services provided locally by their largest trading partner in China.
However where active local management teams enable such quick decision-making individuals play a much larger role in the strategic intent process which again appears to imply a top heavy and thus formalized system itself which relies heavily upon the leader at the top rather than middle management innovators. The coming challenges for Korea will be the investment in intangible advances in communication between top management and middle or even academic researchers within the organization who might be able to suggest further offshore growth in profit earnings through third party collaborations in particular the area of business management with western partners in China or even foreign students recruitment.
This would imply an ability to change quickly in a dynamic educational services sector more reliant upon strategic intent than formalized planning. The scale of development of one or the other or both is determined by market forces again supported by elements of strategic intent or the success with which vision matches educational customer needs and services will determine growth in the Korean services industry in the next three to five years.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

An Analysis of the Korean Higher Education Industry

Porter’s Five Forces Analysis: Korean Higher Education

INDUSTRY: Analysis is conducted upon the Korean higher education industry and its transnational aspects.

THREATS OF ENTRY: The entry of foreign educational services competitors is opposed due to fears that local institutions survival are already threatened by rapidly falling birth rates and national enrollments which compounds the current crisis in education. There is an aversion to foreign influences in education that will negatively impact upon national culture. In addition due to the already high ratio of private domestic capital a shift could translate into foreign capital dominance which might further propel capital outflows thus negating savings in foreign educational consumption. Foreign entry might also further commoditize an already primarily private industry and extenuate an already growing gap between rich and poor students (Kim & Lee, 2004, 2006: 92). Barriers include government regulations stipulating non-profit institutions only, restrictions on increasing tuition fees, and location outside of metropolitan Seoul to minimize popular demand where such services would be greatest (Lee, M.H., 2006:96, 97 &105). However on paper it is quite legal to start up a foreign educational enterprise. The barriers are officially low but unofficially high in terms of reaching economies of scale in far flung regional locations. This is set to change almost to a degree of barrier free entry if Korea ratifies the FTA with the USA and honours its obligations to the WTO. These barriers then exist because entry implies defeat of Korean cultural precepts in terms of education.

THREATS OF SUBSTITUTES: The US, the UK, Australia, and Canada already provide education to nearly half of all OECD international students and prove price prohibitive access to Korean students unable to currently afford foreign studies (Wyckoff & Schaaper, 2005: 3). However European scholarship awards could provide a path to alternate education for many as the EU is predicted to require nearly half a million new researchers by the year 2010 to increase R & D capacities to a rate of an average 3% of GDP from a current 2% which would be more than 700,000 at EC estimates (Guellec, 2002; Sheehan and Wyckoff, 2003; European Commission, 2003 in Wyckoff & Schaaper, 2005: 5). Predictions suggest Chinese and Indians will fill the gaps yet the same study predicts similar required increases in Japan, which would be easier for Koreans to fill than perhaps Indians or Chinese competitors due to cultural similarities. Furthermore Australian universities are providing more short-term research contracts to encourage immigration and at the same time shifting highly skilled professionals from Oz to the US market offering additional incentive to fully funded educational scholarships for Australians. The Korean industry has best minimized financing options through government deregulation and many national economies, including Canada limit student loan disbursements for the purposes of study outside of the county. In Korea’s case student loans for studies within the nation do not even exist. There are significant costs to be absorbed through such switching. In this case it may be the Japanese, Australians or the Europeans who pay the bills. Koreans are quite willing to immigrate under the right conditions. The only substitute that most Korean students have to attending a Korean university at present is to attend a Korean college because they could not enter a Korean university.

PRESSURES FROM SUPPLIERS: Seoul remains the location of choice for Korean students as it is the keystone of the culture and contains the most highly rated universities and colleges. Korean institutions solidify hierarchical authoritarianism at the same time which elevates rigid communication networks reinforcing decision-making of rank over specialty, age over merit, and gender over ability, all precepts which do not often translate into globalized best managerial practices (Lee, J.K., 2001). Such supplier power is to the benefit of private control of education as opposed to the common weal. Deregulations and government spending cuts throughout the early nineties permitted colleges and universities to freely increase enrollments and income especially those outside of the Seoul Metropolitan area provoking rapid expansion although it was known at the time significant declines would arise in the immediate future. Current supply exceeds demand. Further research confirms that the nature of differentiation and forward integration of higher education is stalled by continuous conflict between founders and their families with stakeholders such as faculty and students (Kim & Lee, 2004: 22). The pressure of suppliers created an educational sector which is under-endowed and the cost of education itself could be one of several significant factors to explain the low birth rates.

Students are obviously essential to the profit-making aims and goals of the majority of Korean universities and colleges. Unfortunately they appear unwilling to stay married long enough to procreate at rates comparable to the early seventies especially when ordered to do so as the cash cows they are perceived to be by educational suppliers. Even Songdo west of Seoul is being filled with Korean campuses and appears a white elephant under current regulations and coincidentally filling the spaces originally intended for foreign competitors (Songdo Map, 2007).

PRESSURES FROM CUSTOMERS: The Korean educational marketplace has routinely allowed few freedoms in terms of choice of provider, choice of product, use of resources, or determination of prices (Jongbloed, 2003 in Kim & Lee, 2004: 3). However highly ranked institutions are able to draw more students, spending more on them and giving more student aid. As a result while enrollments decline, universities and colleges are becoming more competitive, increasing student scholarships while also relying singularly on tuitions for their profits. Such customer driven service improvements are a stop-gap within the industry whereby those institutions unable to adapt to a student as customer satisfaction orientation shall be merged, acquired, bought, sold, and either closed or reborn within a free market system. This occurred in rural Gangwondo in 2005 at the Yang Yang Campus of Kwandong University, a rural subsidiary of Myonggi Corporation which was unprepared to address student complaints that the campus was located too far from Seoul. Local residents protested the foundation of a “Silver Town” respite care facility to the point that the university was losing 1.5 million dollars a year keeping the lights on in an empty facility suitable to the housing and educating of in the range of two thousand students. It is a suitable paradox to ameliorating traditional Confucian arbitration between the individual and the community with a new twist whereby the educators will be accountable to the student rather than vice versa. At a population increase of 0.4% the Korean government is attempting to fill emptying schools with, “tax breaks for parents, social insurance benefits, and subsidies for childcare expenses” (The Korea Times, 2006). Thus attitudes to information and awareness of educational quality are becoming more important because they have become unique selling points for an increasingly competitive and dwindling marketing orientation.

POTENTIAL RIVALS: Extrapolation of current data relating to cooperative programs in China (from highest to lowest rates of participation) of universities and colleges from Australia, the USA, Hong Kong, Canada, France and Britain suggest what a future transnationalized Korean educational landscape may look like. A comparative participation of Australian institutions representing 53.9% or 21 out of 39 of its universities with profit-making concerns in China apparently indicates a freer market than the Korean higher educational sector at present which only provides two programs in China among nearly two hundred and fifty institutions (Wu & Yu, 2006:215). However the shortage present in trained professionals in China does not correlate to Korea and a shortage of students more likely predicts mergers and takeovers of Korean educational enterprises perhaps directly proportional to the rate of rapid growth and rapid decline in enrollments of those enterprises to begin with. One may observe the Australians as probable early first entrants to pick up the dogs when their day comes.

KEY CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNTITIES: Over reliance upon the private sector rather than state subsidies to achieve growth which propelled 50% of high school graduates into university degree granting programs as of 2002 (Kim & Lee, 2004, 1) resulted in variations in educational quality and marks South Korea as spending the highest amounts on education among OECD nations with public support at 16.7% and GNP of 2.51% (Kim & Lee, 2004: 18-19). Perceived solutions to improving the quality of higher education in South Korea include steps to increase transnationalisation to extend choices, liberalize services, absorb foreign educational consumption in the domestic market, reduce deficits of foreign studies and comply with WTO open market requirements as well as pending free trade negotiations with The USA (Lee, M.H., 2006: 91). Most notable examples of managerial change have been demonstrated at POSTECH and KAIST where aspirations for a true research environment are being implemented and a renewed flexibility in management could provide the keys to Korean educational competitive advantages in an imminent market sector shift (Kim & Lee, 2004: 24).


Anonymous (2006) “Master Plan of Songdo” [Accessed: February 11, 2007]

Anonymous (2006) “South Korea, Taiwan Have World’s Lowest Birth Rate”, The Korea Times, August 19, 2006 at EU-Korea Industrial Cooperation Agency, Brussels, Belgium. [Accessed: February 11, 2007]

Kim, S. & Lee, J.H. (2004) “Changing Facets of Korean Higher Education: market Competition and the Role of the State”, Seoul Educational Workshop, October 14-15, 2002, Korea Development Institute and the World Bank, Seoul, South Korea.
[Accessed: February 11, 2007]

Lee, J.K. (2001) “Confucian Thought Affecting leadership And Organizational Culture of Korean Higher Education”, Radical Pedagogy, Volume 3: Issue 3, Late Fall 2001, International Consortium for the Advancement of Academic Publication, Athabaska University, Alberta, Canada. [Accessed: February 11, 2007]

Lee, M.H. (2006) Transnational higher education in Korea: The tasks and prospects” in Huang F. (Ed.), Transnational Higher Education in Asia and the Pacific Region , Research Institute for Higher Education, Hiroshima University, Japan, pp. 91-108. [Accessed: February 11, 2007]

Wu, M. & Ping, Y. (2006) “Challenges and opportunities facing Australian universities caused by the internationalisation of Chinese higher education”, International Education Journal, 2006, 7(3), 211-221, Shannon Research Press, Australia.
[Accessed: February 11, 2007]

Wyckoff, A. & Schaaper, M. (2005) “The Changing Dynamics of the Global Market for the Highly Skilled”, Advancing Knowledge and the Knowledge-Economy Conference: National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., January 10-11, 2005, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. [Accessed: February 11, 2007]