Date of Award

Summer 1997

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Shuter, Robert M.

Second Advisor

Badaracco, Claire H.

Third Advisor

Wolburg, Joyce


The primary purpose of this study is to develop cultural concepts embedded in the message of corporate ads that play a role in promoting the top ten conglomerates in Korea (chaebol). Accordingly, this study starts with the following "grand tour question" (Creswell, 1994): "how are co-cultural values portrayed in the Korean top ten chaebols2 corporate advertising messages?" The importance of chaebol in understanding Korean management system, corporate activities, and economy has been noted (e.g., Chang & Chang, 1994; K. J. Fields, 1995; Kuznets, 1994; Song, 1990; Steers, Shin, & Ungson, 1989). In terms of sales, the four biggest chaebols, Samsung, Hyundai, LG, and Daewoo, are equal to more than 80% of the gross domestic product (GDp3 ) in Korea ("In the shadow," 1996). Two theoretical. assumptions are made for this study based on literature. First, corporate advertising is a form of corporate communication for the purpose of promoting organization to the public (Berkman & Gilson, 1987; Keegan, Moriarty, & Dunkan, 1995; Kotler & Armstrong, 1994; Schumann, Hathcote, & West, 1991 "; Wilcox, Ault, & Agee, 1995). Second, corporations identify with certain co-cultural values in the message of corporate advertising (Cheney, 1983b, 1991; Vaughn, 1997). The identification can be either conscious or subconscious (Burke, 1951). Two key terms are adopted from the literature. First, identification and identification strategy are adopted from Burke (1953, 1954, 1972) and Cheney (1983b, 1991). 'Identification" is the key term of Burkeian 'new" rhetoric (1951), and Cheney has applied it to understand organizational communication (e.g., Cheney, 1983b, 1991 ; Cheney & Tompkins, 1987) including public relations (Cheney & Dionisopoulos, 1989; Cheney & Vibbert, 1987). Second, 'co-culture" (Shuter, in press) refers to different but coexisting and interacting cultures within a specific culture. Since this study examines various cultural values within the Korean society, the term is adopted.