www.groovekorea.com / May 2014 46 But Jung says that these kinds of incidents in the workplace have been dropping over the past few years as foreign business has more influence on office culture. “In my memory, the last five years were quite different,” she says. “That kind of push (to go out after work) from seniors is not going to happen anymore. Attending social dinners is mostly optional for employees. This is the big change in the cul- ture as a result of doing business overseas..” Jung welcomes this change, but she doesn’t think everyone will be so willing to embrace it. “Older employees may not be happy. Some- times they may want to do the old-fashioned party,” she says. With a large number of students studying abroad, Jung believes that managers will have to change their attitude to suit the shift in office culture. “Our company has hired more than 5,000 new employees who have just graduated from university. They are very young and a lot of them have studied over- seas. So the older superiors need to change.” Lee, 29, a male worker at an international company for five years, says that an obvious generation gap has emerged — and it is forc- ing a new culture into Korean companies. He works with 20 women who are all at the bot- tom level; he has still not seen a woman in his company take a top position. “I think com- panies have a preference for guys, but it will change when the young generation becomes management level. I’m pretty sure we will have female management at the highest level or in an important position,” he says. One of the biggest changes, he says, is occurring in how employees view social work events. “These days a lot of young people refuse it because we don’t care,” he says. A male senior’s inappropriate comments toward a young female employee during a hoesik led to an investigation by the HR department and ended with the senior being demoted to a lower-level job. This, says Lee, is a “strict” ap- proach compared to how it would have been handled not too long ago. There are other signs that the excessive drinking rooted in Korea’s business culture is starting to be reined in, with the country’s larg- est conglomerate leading the way. In 2012, Samsung introduced a policy known as “1-1- 9” limiting the after-work staff dinner to one type of alcohol, o ne venue and a 9 p.m. cut- off time for alcohol. The move is part of a cam- paign to promote a healthier work environment. Earlier that year, ashtrays were removed from company buildings, and the electronics giant is now encouraging social events to be held in a more active, alcohol-free environment. Edited by Elaine Ramirez (elaine@groovekorea.com) INSIGHT Changes to corporate culture ‘I was on the construction site and I had a male boss who told me, “You should work like a man, so I want to show you how men play after work.” And he took me to a room salon. I didn’t want to stay there, but he insisted that I stay because I needed to know.’ Jung, an employee at a large company