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Korea: Yongo 2.0, Global Inmaek, and Network Multiplexity

aSt. John's University, USA
bPennsylvania State University, USA

Informal Networks in International Business

ISBN: 978-1-83982-879-9, eISBN: 978-1-83982-878-2

Publication date: 5 August 2022


While guanxi is by far the most prominent network construct in international business research, the literature on other informal network constructs (wasta, sifarish, svyazi, yongo, etc.) is emerging. Though guanxi research suggests that the influence of informal networks in business may recede with increasing levels of economic growth and institutional effectiveness, this hypothesis remains to be tested in different contexts using varied network constructs in order to come to general conclusions. Assuming that informal networks are culturally rather than institutionally driven, we elaborate on the developmental dynamics of informal networks in Korea, namely yongo and inmaek, arguing that yongo persists and adjusts to changes in the sociocultural environment. While we define traditional yongo based on three in-group ties (family, university, and regional ties), today we see workplace-related ties and networks becoming an increasingly important yongo base, which we call yongo 2.0. Societal trends reflected in the so-called spoon-class theory and N-po generation debate mirror the ambivalence of traditional yongo and the reliance on yongo 2.0. Hence, we assume that yongo will not recede but remain an important in-group tie that foreign business expatriates need to understand and learn to access in order to manage business effectively and integrate into society.



Horak, S. and Park, J.G. (2022), "Korea: Yongo 2.0, Global Inmaek, and Network Multiplexity", Horak, S. (Ed.) Informal Networks in International Business, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 113-127.



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