During the 1990’s Korean Airlines had more plane crashes than almost any other airline in the world. For example in 1997 a Korean Air jet carrying 254 people crashed and burned during bad weather and rescuers, who trudged through the jungle with torches, found about 35 survivors. Flight 801, a Boeing 747 making a 2,000-mile trip from Seoul, South Korea, was carrying mainly Korean tourists, including several couples on their honeymoon, when it went down in the lush green hills as it was coming in for a landing in the middle of the night. Tragically the pilot had made an error of judgment but it is said that the co-pilot was too deferential and submissive to correct him! In Europe or North America a co-pilot might have had no problem challenging the blunders of the pilot but in that culture people sometimes struggled to do this.
Korean culture is deeply influenced by the Confucian worldview. Throughout traditional Korean society, from the royal palace and central government offices in Seoul to the humblest household in the provinces, the themes of hierarchy and inequality are pervasive. Individuals are still expected to show respect and obedience to their social betters. The ideal person is one who controls his or her emotions in order to fulfill to the letter a host of demanding social obligations. We could compare Korean culture to the Hindu caste system. In both cultures people are not equal; your value as a person is determined by your place in the hierarchy. Some people are very important and some are not.