HomeNewsSenior Korean manager (76) obtains a doctoral degree at the University of Twente

Senior Korean manager (76) obtains a doctoral degree at the University of Twente

Suk-Jean Kang (76), former CEO of the electronics group General Electric in South Korea, obtained a doctoral degree on Wednesday, 9 September, at the University of Twente. His doctoral thesis contains guidelines on employee-focused leadership for business leaders. The research was conducted at four major Korean firms: Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, the Woong-Jin Group and Shinhan Bank. 

Suk-Jean Kang was involved with the foundations of the economic progress in South Korea in the 1990s. For 20 years he was CEO of General Electric. Following his retirement, he has dedicated himself to the professional development of senior managers, including those at the Korea University in Seoul. There he met prof. dr. J.W.M. (Joseph) Kessels, professor of Human Resource Management at the Universiteit Twente. Kessels supervised Suk-Jean Kang during his research into the relationship between leadership, organizational culture, knowledge productivity and value creation.

Successful companies


Suk-Jean Kang has mapped out the specific situation at four successful companies in South Korea: Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, de Woong-Jin Group and Shinhan Bank. He interviewed the chairman of the board, the CEOs and the senior managers of all four organizations. A total of 387 managers participated in the study. The doctoral degree candidate discussed the findings with the companies examined as well as thirty directors of other Korean companies.   

The doctoral thesis, which Suk-Jean King will defend on Wednesday, 9 September, is entitled: ‘Leaderschip, Organizational Culture, Knowledge Productivity and Value Creation in Four Successful Korean Companies. Towards guidelines for people-oriented business leaders.’


It contains a set of six guidelines for employee-focused leadership. According to the doctoral degree candidate, open communication and knowledge sharing between managers and employees are essential for a company's success. Human Research Development is therefore a crucial part of modern entrepreneurship in today's knowledge economy, says Suk-Jean King.