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Business-Corporate Titles

Business-Corporate Titles

The below titles and the order in which they appear reflects, to some extend, the hierarchy within Korean business culture. This is a simplified version of a very comlex system and while it may reflect the norm, it is not to be viewed as an absolute version of either titles or the hierarchy itself.

The important thing to remember is that even in companies that may have recently instituted a ‘no titles’ policy, there are few, if any, truly flat business/cultural/government organisations in Korea. If not expressed in titles, the hierarchy will come out in sentence structure. Note that when speaking to a person of higher rank, you would use the title and add 님 (Nim) - If speaking to the president of a company (not the country) you would say 사장 님 (Sajang-Nim)

If foreign nationals make an error regarding titles or position in the hierarchy it is usually overlooked. That said it sometimes isn’t (particularly if one has been in Korea for a while or if the Korean business person has had little or no experience with foreigners).

Foreign executives are generally treated with respect regardless of their position or title. That said Korean executives usually prefer to deal with someone of a similar rank; some will actually not want to deal with someone of an ‘inferior’ rank. This is changing as the older, more traditional executives, begin to retire and younger, less traditional Korean move into higher level positions.


CHAIRMAN: 회장 (Hoejang) 

PRESIDENT: 사장 (Sajang)

VICE-PRESIDENT: 부사장 (Busajang)



DIRECTOR*: 이사 (Isa)




TEAM LEADER: 팀장 (Timjang)


EMPLOYEE: 사원 (Wawon)

NEW EMPLOYEE (usually recent graduate at the company for less than one year: 신입사원 (Shinip Sawon) 

*DIRECTOR can vary depending on the nature of the business/institution
Director of an arts organisation: 감독 (Gamdog) or 디렉터 (Dilegteo)
Director of a clinic or hospital: 원장 (Wonjang)
Director of a committee: 회장 (Hoejang)
Director of a corporation: 이사 (Isa)
Director of a government office/department: 청장 (Cheongjang)
Director of a research institute: 소장 (Sojang)
Director of a study institute: 원장 (Wonjang)

Others you may see: 실장 (Siljang), 소장 (Sojang), 센터장 (Senteojang), 협회장 (Hyeoghoejang), 부장 (Bujang) or 국장 (Gugjang)
When in doubt which title to use for a Director you can just use: 디렉터 (Director)

NOTE: In recent years, the following have been used, CEO and COO (full title of Chief Executive Office and Chief Operating Officer generally not often seen however).

K4E Editor's Note: wants to provide you with as complete and accurate information as possible, so should you find any errors or omissions in the contents above please let us know at

Last Updated on 2020-09-01

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Business Practices and Etiquette Business-Corporate Titles
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