If they don't give a ____ about their employees , you really think they will do differently about a tech news outlet ? I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for an answer.
My coat please ..
A leaked presentation to Samsung executives has provided further insight into the company's damaged internal culture. The PowerPoint document focuses on strategies to prevent the creation of labor unions at the South Korean company and takes a very aggressive stance, treating employees as enemies and suggesting " …
I wonder if the culture at Samsung is because of the historic links to the corrupt Korean governments of the past.
The Chaebols paid a lot in kickbacks to the former military government, so this might be a hangover from those times.
Also, from a quick bit of research, Samsung seems to still be a family owned business, which seems remarkable for a company with something like 17% of Korea's GDP.
"Also, from a quick bit of research, Samsung seems to still be a family owned business, which seems remarkable for a company with something like 17% of Korea's GDP."
Not really. This is par for the course with the chaebols. Their family-oriented nature was brought to the forefront recently with Hanjin Shipping Company's bankruptcy and with fierce family feuds over at Lotte.
1. IT is not historic, it is current.
2. IT is the "shining beacon in the night" for some of our current conservative government on where Britain should go. They have expressed their open admiration with Korean "education" (I would call it more like child slavery), Korean working culture and Korean business. No further comment is really necesary.
This is a reflection on corporate culture in Korea, not particular to Samsung. Groupthink, worker intimidation, uniformity, no-bad-news culture. Look up Korean Airlines and Asiana cockpit deference. I worked in Korea in the 'nineties; I'd be surprised if it has changed much since then. Likely the design flaw was known and not reported...
That's worse than what we'd see from any large US or UK company, though. I guess the labor laws in South Korea are a bit behind - probably when you have a single company that is responsible for a sixth of your entire country's GDP they exercise a lot more control over what laws are passed that the lobbyists that infest our politics do!
Well, let's see.
Minimum wage: SK 6030 W, that's about £4.36 at today's exchange rate. That's significantly lower than the UK.
Working hours: South Korea has a mandatory 40 hour working week, but "it is legal to demand up to 12 hours of overtime during the week, plus another 16 hours on weekends" - for a total of 68 hours a week. (That can officially be demanded of employees.) In the UK, employees can't be required to work more than 48 hours a week, even with the working hours opt-out. Of course, in both countries you can also "volunteer" to work longer.
Leave: S Korean employees start with 15 days annual leave allowance. UK employees start with 28 days.
Health and safety: it's surprisingly hard to find actual data on this, but according to this page, South Koreans are about 12 times likelier than Britons to die at work.
And according to OECD figures: the average South Korean worked a total of 2113 hours in 2015, compared with 1674 for the average Briton. So I guess that also accounts for part of the difference in deaths at work. After all, if you spend more time there, then by the iron laws of statistics, you're more likely to be there when you randomly keel over.
re. SK 6030 W, that's about £4.36 at today's exchange rate. That's significantly lower than the UK.
Did you actually check the cost of living? Because the above figures are pretty useless, if (IF) the cost of living in Korea is significantly lower than in the UK (which is one of the highest in the western world)
"Did you actually check the cost of living?"
Odds are it's somewhat higher. The country's pretty damn dense with people and it doesn't have a lot of domestic resources so it has to import a lot. That's why South Korea has a heavy export economy to balance it out. Point is, since there's less domestic resources, things like clothes and essentials can get pricey. Not to mention the high population density raises economic pressure on rents.
That's worse than what we'd see from any large US or UK company
But seems to be where many in the UK would like us to head in supporting brexit, abandoning human rights, and, as they like to call it, freeing us from red tape and the shackles of the EU.
It seems we used to often lead the way. Now it seems we have decided we were wrong and a race to the bottom is the best way to succeed.
based on the level of profanity alluded to in this article, all of the Linus fanboys on this site should be champing at the bit to go work for Samsung. or is being insulted and degraded only enjoyable when it's done by a schlubby Finnish autist who excretes non-functioning kernel releases full of buffer overflow and use-after-free exploits?
* Disappointing to read this. Many like myself used to be cheerleaders for Samsung products, especially when competitors like Sony or LG started to tank.
* However, slowly you begin to hear about Samsung TV Panel lotteries on sites like Amazon.com. Then you read about Samsung's cynical plans to solely make Smart TV's in order to milk personal info as per Facebook / Google etc.
* Samsung had a good run, pity they let greed pwn them! Not against free trade per se, but you can see where giving shitty companies like this the ability to sue governments as per TPP / TTIP / TISA, can not end well.
"clearly corners were skipped to beat the iphone7 to launch."
We already know corners were rounded to beat the iphone, at least according to one judgement.
What a sad world this is were a company can be fined hundreds of millions of dollars for the perceived abuse of daring to infringe spurious patent and design claims, yet can get away with murder when it comes to its treatment of human beings...
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I thought it was caused by shit batteries?
We still don't know what caused the problems, but as batteries from a number of manufacturers -- including some made by Samsung themselves and some from Chinese suppliers -- seem to have been equally prone to explosive behaviour it probably wasn't the batteries themselves.
The nest suspects on the list would seem to be the fast charging hardware and software in the phone itself.
the best explanation (something I google'd for recently) is that the batteries underwent mechanical stresses during assembly that caused the insulation tape to be dislodged, resulting in short circuits.
Or something like that. sorry, don't have source available but it was easy to find.
Then again, an *ANGRY* employee might be seen FORCING the battery into its confined space, afraid to speak up, afraid of losing his job or getting suspended for a period of time that results in economic hardship, yotta yotta. If work environment is THAT hostile, according to what the article says, 'other things' may simply grow out of that...
Coupled with charging the batteries too rapidly. I do not know if there was a spec on how quickly a battery must be at full charge for the note 7. But rechargeable batteries a touchy beasts and have a long history causing spectacular messes when charged too aggressively. Exactly what the battery does depends on its chemistry. Did marketing and the electronics design team consult with a battery guru about proper recharging rates for the batteries?
Charles 9 got it - this is just typical for South Korean chaebols.
It's one reason South Korea produces so many great webtoons - life there is just miserable, which is great for producing tragic comics. The eight hour Suneung (college entrance exam) pretty much decides your future - the country half shuts down for the day. So you spend 12+ years cramming for it like a dog (all your nights) in hopes that you get into a good college so you can join one of the giant companies that run the country, like Samsung (or maybe take the government path if you're from the right families). Then if you 'win' and do actually get that high prestige chaebol job, there's no letup of being worked like a dog, and the execs know there are plenty of desperate people where you came from.
There are other options, of course, like dropping out of this treadmill or being forced out, but then you're a societal 'loser'.
Anyhow, it ain't just Samsung - which is no excuse for Samsung's behavior, just that it's a national problem and this should come as no surprise to anyone.
And people wonder why South Korea is one of the the worst first-world nations in regards to suicides: worse than Japan's (and theirs are well documented for the same reasons: extreme cultural and social pressure).
According to that chart listed further down, South Korea is #2 overall and Japan #17 (but much higher once you exclude third-world countries). To compare, the US is a third of the way down the list, the UK two-thirds down.
Re * Disappointing to read this.
Ditto, I had for some years naively thought that Samsung, not being Apple or Sony, was somehow better. Well, it's products might have been for a while, but clearly not these days.
Makes one wish for a EthicalCompanyWithNicePeopleAndGreatReliableProducts.com
At least the company I work for is a bit more realistic. Doesn't appear to be any "death march", and they nicely provide free sodas and other unhealthy snacks. I'm only a contractor, but I don't have anyone screaming at me for hours on end.
"Don't worry, be happy!"
"the company in Cupertino will lay you off in a flash if it suits their business plans."
As will most companies. As a contractor I often get permies asking me how I can tolerate the uncertainty. Well for a start my employer is much nicer than any other employer I have worked for. Then there's the job security. Over twenty years as a contractor and never "made redundant", "right sized" or "put on the bench" or whatever other moronic euphemism idiots in suits are using this week. I've had contracts longer than some permies careers.
Job security is an illusion.
As far as it goes, South Korea is a microcosm for the kind of cyberpunk future you might read about in William Gibson's Sprawl books or a Shadowrun sourcebook. Those chaebols carry as much if not more clout than the government, given their huge, international nature.
I was in Hyundai years ago when it was just a village with a large shipyard attached and not a car plant in sight. (We stayed at the aptly named 'Foreigners Hotel')
Walking along the main street one day I watched two telephone linesmen working 20 feet up a pole with a young lad down on the ground. When they finished with the first pole they rather oddly pulled their ladder UP to the top with them and then laid it across the actual phone wires. They then lay one on top of each side of the ladder and dropped a rope (attached to the middle of the ladder) down to the boy on the ground. The boy grabbed the rope and set off at a run towards the next pole as the two linesmen slid along the wires 20ft above him. (With no safety net or harness of any kind.!)
I remember thinking as I saw it, "Wow. How do you compete against a work ethic like this?"
My late father, a Naval Architect, went to the Hyundai dry dock in Korea about 25 years ago when the company he worked for needed a ship built that was too large for any North American facilities. I don't know if this is still true, but at the time the Hyundai dock was the largest in the world and the only one big enough for this particular container ship. When he got home he couldn't say enough about the Korean work ethic. He learned that after the war agriculture had been destroyed by chemical ordnance and all industry had been flattened, so the Koreans decided to leverage the only natural resource they had left, their people. They committed to do whatever was needed to rebuild their country even if that meant long hours and low wages. Unfortunately it seems their elites aren't ready to let them relax at all and have come to expect slave labor.
Recently heard or read about suicide rates by country. Guess which developed country is far above the rest? Now I know why. Even including third world countries, Korea is #2 overall. Stats here if you're interested from the WHO:
Drawing a VERY long bow associating exploding phones with company culture. But then - put the boot in while they are down makes you just another gutter article media company. This article was probably loitering in your editors - "keep for a slow day" file to use when the company becomes topical.
By the way - just because Western culture behave in a certain way does not mean the majority of the world will follow. That's why lots of manufacturing is outsourced to Asia because Westerns companies can turn a blind eye to less favorable labor practices - cue a number of world leading technology companies.
Don't tell me most Western companies do not have strategies to minimize Union influence in their workforce? Are you at all surprised. And the yearly "lets make the employees feel good" questionnaire - smoke and bloody mirrors.
By the way - this would have been in Korean - putting up a translated ppt and PDF proves very little.
I still work at one of the campuses where a lot of the things in the pdf/ppt happened. That doesn't even begin to come close to what it is really like there. And from looking at it, it is actually pretty good, grammatically and spelling wise, compared to some of the absolute shit that comes out. It was definitely translated into English by one of the Koreans on staff.
Being the token white guy in the building, I am somewhat insulated from the majority of the shit that goes on. 5pm rolls around and I go home. Don't care if anyone else is staying late. But the spying, backstabbing, forcing people out through bad reviews... That just means its Monday morning at Samsung.
Asinine meetings, screaming execs that don't really have a clue, people reduced to tears, threats and power drinking are an everyday occurrence. I've seen fist fights in the office, chairs going out windows, people collapsing from exhaustion and the occasional on-staff medic wheeling someone out on a gurney. Korea is such a structured and stratified society that they don't dare contradict someone higher up the food chain even if it means the collapse of an entire product line.
I have no love for the company itself. And after having met most of the family, one has to wonder about the wasted oxygen... But I do have an amazing amount of respect for most of the people I work with there that have managed to put up with it for 10-20 years and not gone on a rampage of destruction.
I've never worked there, but the UK company I do work for have worked with Samsung on a number of occasions in the past, and from some of the stories I have heard from colleagues about the regime at their UK HQ, never mind in Korea, I wouldn't want to work there for all the tea in China.
On one hand I like this type of summary of a case you present (bad, bad, bad corporation and see? - really bad, to highlight the point, they don't even respond to our questions (guilty, guilty, guilty Samsung!). On the other hand, if used more than every now and then, this trick is getting tedious, plus it's a cheap trollbait, really.
p.s. yes, Samsung are c***s and I agree, having seen how they responded to the user and "media" concerns about killing off their digicam business, but they're no different to any other business. Well, actually, at least they shut up instead of replying with those hilarious non-responses about better aligning their business potential to enhance overall customer experience, which you see every now and then from other giant corporations when they'e just screwed their customers (yet again).
When Tandy's computer business was having trouble showing a profit in the mid to late 1990s, cost reduction assumed a much more important role in its planning, and Samsung offered Tandy what it it called a "strategic partnership".
After some time, this strategic partnership turned into a takeover, one of whose first overt symptoms was the replacement of 6 foot cubicle partitions with much shorter ones, the objective being to have each manager identify who was sitting at his or her computer at precisely 8 AM
It was when I learned that – as one of the engineering team – I was no longer allowed to make changes necessary to meet regulatory and performance requirements, and that only Korean engineers had that authority; it was then that I decided to leave AST, and as the full impact of the Korean management philosophy descended on the others it appears they all decided "the handwriting on the wall" was in Korean. An article on the AST bankruptcy once described what happened then as a "mass exodus of talent."
My next job was at a telecommunications manufacturer specializing in the digital loop to subscriber equipment. It was a very good job, one with a good deal of responsibility, and I enjoyed it – and when that firm was acquired by a French multinational, those conditions did not change.
Those were the times, my friend…
I'm surprised that Tandy were any better. I've worked for a number of American companies as an employee and as a contractor. The description and language could have been of any one of those companies. One of them reduced an exec to apoplexy because the Brits and the French kept quoting the Working Time Directive and we Europeans refused to accept the pay cut that our American colleagues were forced to accept.
Even funnier was when some American idiot worked out that France and the UK was staffed mostly by contractors, so all contractors were told to take a pay cut or leave. We all agreed to leave, plenty more jobs available. Then the management had to crawl back and ask us not to go because they suddenly realised that none of the contracts were going to be completed that year.
I'm sure many people have worked out which American company that was by now.
I got to Tandy in 1989 or so, and working in R&D was a fantastic job, even if I did have to bark back at my manager from time to time. But they never sold enough computers (only marketed to their own stores -- and DEC, with that firm's nameplate) to reliably profit from building them.
And where else could I ever claim credit for a software compatibility lab's engineers all having to sit on wet seat cushions? For Origami ribbon cables? For an unpowered electric coffee-warmer (NOT our set-top-box) changing the colors on a TV set in the boardroom?
If you know things others don't, and can imagine what they can't, they'll think it magic ...
And without either a degree or engineering coursework. I had FUN!
This is why business wants yet more Free Trade, to punish countries and workers that think employees should have any rights, that safety should be allowed to interfere with profit, and that the environment is anything other than a rubbish dump. Of course that wasn't clear decades ago but now generations after global trade agreements and the concentration of wealth into the hands of a few it is obvious for those few that care about such things.
As for Samsung workers, if you don't like it there are millions of starving people who want those jobs so get back to work you lazy SOBs!
Thick headed business people without any engineering clue got involved and whole scintific process went oout the window. Some dump company's started appointing MBA's without engineering education started appointing them as CTO's (Cisco being the most recent example) and screwed up product developmet.
"Some dump company's started appointing MBA's without engineering education"
Ask yourselves which famous British/American company took purchase authorisation off engineers and gave it to said mba persons ( of undefined sex...). Then laugh as said company had to send a team of engineers to replace all the relevant nuts and bolts, in a shipload of equipment sitting on a dockside in Europe, with high tensile ones after the equipment had failed the importer's stress test.
Mine's the one with the copy of mechanical fundamentals in the pocket, thanks...
Engineering used to be concept, prototype, design, test final test, evironmental tests, result analysis, revisin and release. Then, thick headed business people without any engineering clue got involved and whole scintific process went oout the window. Some dump company's started appointing MBA's without engineering education started appointing them as CTO's (Cisco being the most recent example) and screwed up product developmet.
Does it, for example, list all those dubious practices as being examples to follow, or examples of behaviour that has got to stop and stop now?
Its no surprise that any company would like to reduce union membership. Vital as I think unions are, its a sad fact (in my experience in the UK anyway) that the people running them tend to be from the left and combative and disruptive. This is simply because those are the folk who tend to be drawn to union activism. That doesn't stop them doing a great deal of good and valuable work, but its a definite downer from the point of view of the majority of the staff as well as the management.
So a really well run and rational company, or one that seeks to become that, perhaps ought to take a look at things and say to themselves: if we want to avoid the disruptive union types and the union gaining power, maybe we should look at the compromises and behaviour we would be forced to adopt in the presence of a strong union, and grant those anyway before the union types become powerful. That way we are no worse off than we would be anyway concessions wise, but our staff will be much happier and have a better opinion of us than if we are forced into it.
So if company policy is changing and they want the middle management to stop behaving like mad exploitative capitalist b******ds, then part of that has to be to tell middle management: here are examples of the stuff that has to stop.
I haven't seem the leaked document, and I don't suppose Samsung are being remotely as Utopian as I suggest companies should be above, but the fact remains if you want to stop Unions exploiting workers reasonable grievances to gain support, then fixing the reasonable grievances is something you should consider very seriously.
"I haven't seem the leaked document, and I don't suppose Samsung are being remotely as Utopian as I suggest companies should be above, but the fact remains if you want to stop Unions exploiting workers reasonable grievances to gain support, then fixing the reasonable grievances is something you should consider very seriously."
Why bother? You just make it so unions can't get a toehold in your company and you've got yourself a captive market. Who's going to jump ship when ALL the chaebols behave this way (not to mention it's considered morally improper)?
This is got nothing to do with it. Now Samsung became the freakshow of the moment. Two reminders, think of the jobs that will ge lost if samsung goes down, second, if Samsung Mobile is out of business, get ready to pay more for your iPhones. If they have waited a few more weeks for more completed testing they would ha still burried iPhone7 since its way better. I still keep mine and will return it only on the deadline in 11 days for the full refund, just because its too awesome.
By the way I don't work for Samsung, never did and probably never will.
First I've heard of this story. Has ANY mainstream media outlet (NYT excepted) run it? Sometimes I think that having 4 out of 5 newspapers owned by non tax-paying expat owners doesn't quite align with the idea of press freedom. Right now they're trying to destroy Leveson, and only the House of Lords is defending it.
"As Samsung burns through money faster than a flaming phone, the one person you won't see fronting up before the cameras is the patriarch of the company."
"The word chaebol is a combination of the Korean words for clan and wealth. "
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