May 22, 2024

North Koreans in the city: clash of work ethics

Why North Korean tardiness is not the same thing as laziness

When I arranged my first set of interviews with North Korean refugees in Seoul my supervisor warned me that North Koreans were prone to being late. Yet, I still was dumbfounded when one of my first respondents did not show up for two hours.

He was not caught in traffic, nor accidentally overslept, nor lost in the city. He just appeared two hours late, happily smiling, without even providing a plausible excuse.

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