The Effect of Cultural Differences on Communication in the Context of Cultural Dimensions Theory: The 1997 Crash of Korean Air Flight 801


The most comprehensive research analyzing cultural values from different countries was done by sociologist Geert Hofstede. Hofstede has examined the cultural behaviors of countries and identified the cultural dimensions under different genres. Some cultural elements that determine a society’s ways of communicating can lead to negative consequences if they are also conducted in business life. The most obvious example of this is the fatal accident Korean Airlines had in 1997. The accident occurred not due to technical reasons or climate but to the cultural structure of South Korea and the excessive hierarchy originating from the language they used. The purpose of article is to discuss how cultural factors reflect on communication in this context and to reveal that communication problems stemming from cultural reasons can sometimes cause serious negative consequences. In this context, cultural elements are presented within the framework of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory. The research uses the case study as its method, examining the subject through the South Korean Airlines case study and presenting recommendations. The research concludes that communication problems resulting from cultural factors had caused airway accident.


Hofstede cultural dimensions culture communication Korean Airlines