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News

July 20 2006

Korea Alumni Launch “ILR Korea Forum”


Sung-Choon Kang, PhD '06ILR alumni living and working in Korea have created a special forum to regularly exchange ideas and discuss key human resources and industrial relations issues there, according to Cha-Gyu Park, MPS ’98, and Kwang-Won Choi, MILR ’05. Choi will serve as general secretary. ILR Visiting Fellows in Korea have also been invited to participate, bringing the membership to fifty-eight.

 “Because our members have a variety of backgrounds in academia, industry, and government, we expect to touch on many interesting issues and bring a variety of perspectives to this forum,” says Sung-Choon Kang, PhD ’06. Kang is an assistant professor at the Korea University Business School and presented at the group's first forum on July 5. The topic was Social Capital.

Kang reports, “I gave a brief summary of how the concept of social capital has been studied and applied in the HR area. Social capital is simply defined as valuable social relationships. My presentation emphasizes that while HR researchers and practitioners have traditionally focused on employee competencies (human capital), it needs to expand its scope to encompass social capital. For example, when HR practitioners design and evaluate HR practices in recruiting, compensation, downsizing, mentoring, socialization, etc, they are primarily interested in improving employee competencies. But the concept of social capital suggests that such approaches often incur unexpected outcomes on social relationships in the organizations. One example is how downsizing may lead to the loss of social capital in organizations. Another is where 360-degree feedback targeted at increasing the accuracy of performance appraisals may be affected by current social relationships and effects the building of future social relationships among employees. A key implication is that HR practitioners designing HR practices need to consider potential effects of those practices on human and social capital together.”

In addition to the presentation, members took time to introduce themselves to one another and enjoyed dinner at a traditional style Korean restaurant reminiscing about ILR and Cornell. As one alumnus said, “It was just a wonderful meeting, one that called for a second round of beer!”

The next meeting will be in September, just before the Moon Festival. ILRies planning to be in Seoul during September are invited to participate, for details contact Cha-Gyu Park.