Coupang, which 99% said would go bankrupt, rose to No. 1 in the domestic distribution industry. As of the first quarter, it even surpassed E-Mart. This is what made the “1% miracle” a reality. what is that power There are many factors worth mentioning, such as the investment of Softbank Group Chairman Son Jeong-eui, the exquisite timing of the US listing, and the leadership of founder Kim Beom-seok, CEO of Coupang Inc.
However, no company has succeeded with the founder’s inspiration and money alone. Numerous start-up prospects flickered away after relying only on two things: a leader and money. There is one thing you must have to pass through the door of success like the eye of a needle. It is the ‘strongest organization’ that will overcome any danger. In Coupang alone, CEO Kim Bum-seok designed the flywheel, but the power that moves the giant wheel is the ‘Coupang organization’ consisting of about 60,000 people.
Then, how is Coupang’s organization different from other places? What is the secret of a new company launched in 2010 that was able to become the first Korean company to be listed in the US in less than 13 years and grow into the number one distributor in Korea at once? Actually, there is no answer. It can only be consequential. As is the case with all successful business stories.
The organizational theory about Coupang, which I am going to describe from now on, is a fragmentary analysis. We can stop at enumerating a few characteristics that would symbolize their own organizational culture. However, if you connect the pieces together, one day you will be able to draw a vague outline of the whole.
“Sever the ties”… An organization that does not need to read the boss’s expression
Coupang still conducts all non-face-to-face meetings via video. Since there are so many executives and employees scattered across the world, including the United States, China, Singapore, and Taiwan, video conferences are frequent. The last three years of the pandemic have accelerated this.
The difference with other organizations is that they do not return to the past. Even IT companies that boast a flexible organizational culture, such as Naver and Kakao, are returning to work as the corona is over, but Coupang is still implementing telecommuting. The effect is being proven by the results. Sales and profits are growing every quarter, and new businesses are progressing quickly.
Why is a non-face-to-face meeting possible only in Coupang? Conversely, the answer can be measured to some extent by looking at why other organizations brought back executives and employees. An official from a large distribution company said: “When the meeting presided over by the chairman was conducted non-face-to-face, the biggest difficulty was that he could not read the nuances of facial expressions and words
. ” Another business relationship. “Once you look at the background screen, you can’t tell if an employee is doing their job properly. I started to wonder if I was at home or if I went somewhere else to play, so there was no end to it. Besides, it’s hard to tell if you’re listening to me properly.”
Coupang without public debt, no school ties, no blood ties
The reason non-face-to-face video conferences have been possible so far in Coupang is because there is no need to read the other person’s facial expressions and nuances. They only talk about work. Instead of a boss directing and subordinates following, each person fiercely discusses within his or her own scope of authority and responsibility. Executives and CEOs are no exception.
In general organizations, such a meeting culture is virtually impossible. Even if it is not top-down, the bigger the organization, the more bureaucratic elements inevitably exist. A meeting for the sake of a meeting, a meeting that has degenerated into an exhortation from an executive, is paradoxically the reason why meetings can only be held face-to-face.
The root of bureaucracy is ties. Relationships established in any way, such as school ties, geography, or blood ties, are linked to a vertical work structure, creating a top-down decision-making structure. There is no kite in Kupang. This means that it cannot exert its dominant power. Since there are a large number of foreigners, academic background is not considered important in the first place. Of course먹튀검증if you pick and choose, most of them are from the US Ivy League or graduate from major universities in Seoul, but school ties, geography, and blood ties are not taken into account when hiring.
The reason Coupang does not draw public bonds is to avoid being stained with the organizational culture unique to Korean companies. Coupang fills most of its employees with experienced workers. General employees go through 4 interviews and executives go through 6 interviews. Each interview is 1 hour long. Almost all of them are ‘professionals’. They think and act based solely on the project they are in charge of. From a good point of view, it is a work-oriented organization, and from a negative point of view, it is a jungle of infinite competition.