Fascinating detail from Anonymous about South Korean shipbuilding and the Clyde – thanks! And academic researchers are still discussing this link!
Tenald et al (2021) International Transfer of Tacit Knowledge: The Transmission of Shipbuilding Skills from Scotland to South Korea in the Early 1970s. Enterprise & Society , Vol. 22.2.
‘This article analyzes the transfer of tacit knowledge between countries and continents, based on a case from the shipbuilding industry. The South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) was established in the early 1970s and had by the late 1980s become the world’s leading shipbuilder.
‘Aided by foreign loan capital, HHI acquired technology through foreign licenses and imported equipment. However, shipbuilding is about more than hardware. This article presents and analyzes another important means of knowledge transfer: the acquisition of tacit knowledge in the form of shipbuilding skills, including shipyard processes and operations.
‘This transfer was mainly accomplished through the “import” of foreign managers and the dispatch abroad of South Korean employees. One important element, which we investigate in detail, was the Korean personnel that HHI sent in 1972 to the Scott Lithgow shipyards in Scotland to observe and learn. Based on archival sources and interviews, we detail the manner in which tacit knowledge could be transferred across language and cultural barriers.’
And also this detail from an earlier draft paper in entitled ‘The basis for South Korea’s ascent in the shipbuilding industry, 1970-90’ by Bruno & Tenold of the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration
‘Government support with orders was also vital. The government support was important in winning its first order from Livanos in 1971 as it provided Hyundai with large financial guarantees. The order was for two very large crude carriers (VLCCs) of 259,000 dead weight tons (dwt) each. Livanos purchased the ships for a price 16 per cent below the world market price and DEMANDED THEY WOULD BE EXACT REPLICA OF A SHIP THAT HAD BEEN BUILT AT THE SCOTT LITHGOW SHIPYARD IN SCOTLAND.’ (my emphasis)https://ebha.org/ebha2010/code/media_168359_en.pdf
4 thoughts on “More on South Korean shipbuilding and the Clyde”
The Unionist Elite.
Bought and sold for Korean Gold.
Not so much “sailing doon the Clyde, as selling oot the Clyde”.
There would have been glad-handing and wee brown envelopes all round.
Who were the Glasgow MPs then?
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Sending engineers and others to work alongside workers in Scottish shipyards has a long pedigree. When my father was ‘serving his time’ in a shipyard in the 1929s Japanese companies had arranged for their employees to observe him and his colleagues. Neither spoke the other’s language but via hand signals and acting out they managed to communicate. After being observed for a while, my father recalled reaching out for a particular tool and not finding it. When he turned round a smiling Japanese handed it to him and bowed! He had anticipated what my father had been going to do next!
The practice of Japanese coming to Scotland to learn various trades had begun in the late 19th century mainly at the instigation of David Glover from Aberdeenshire who had gone to Japan as a young man. It was a fairly closed society, but he was accepted and rose pretty quickly in Japanese business and was a significant player in the industrialisation of Japan. One of the companies he formed survives to this day under the name of Mitsubishi.
It is said that the story on which the opera, Madame Butterfly is based was drawn from his relationship with a geisha, rather than the US naval office of Puccini’s narrative. The Scottish writer, Alan Spence’s novel, ‘The Pure Land’ is based on the life of Glover, and the main strands of the narrative are pretty factual.
Glover’s son lived in a large house on a hill overlooking Hiroshima and from there, in 1945, he observed the dropping of the atomic bomb. A few days later, he committed hara kiri. The house is a now major museum in Hiroshima.
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Slightly OT – Having spotted the “Scottish Sun” headline on Youtube with “FERRY FIASCO: Nicola Sturgeon dodges Douglas Ross’ questions about accepting ferries responsibility”, it seemed so ludicrous a presentation, curiosity got the better of me and I stuck “Ferry Fiasco” in as search term on Youtube.
Dozens of similar “Scottish Sun” distortions turned up going back months, so although HMS James Cook’s attempted diversion for all that ails Scots with it’s latest ferry story, the Sun has never stopped.
Given that news on Scotland for the Sun (etc) in England originates from this shower, is it any wonder England is confused why Scots support SNP and independence when such distortions hit them every day ?
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I fear the run down of shipbuilding in Scotland is just one of many examples where over the centuries we have witnessed the mass exodus of Scots but I do not hear any discussion in the media about why this happened especially as we are often told Scotland is an integral part of this Union. In a recent Holyrood debate I was astonished to learn that 2mill+ Scots were either forced or chose to leave given the lack of employment opportunities, deprivation etc which thankfully has been partially reversed in recent years but is predicted to drop once again. It just confirms my view Scotland and its huge resources are considered by English politicians merely as an ‘overspill’ carpark to be used as when required and not worthy of any serious investment. We of course all remember Bojo’s classic ”a pound spent in Croydon is worth far more than on Clydeside”