You may remember the so-called "nut rage" incident at Korean Airlines in 2015, when a company executive became enraged about how macadamia nuts were served on a flight. Cho Hyun-ah, a daughter of the company chairman, threw a document at the head flight attendant, forced him to kneel and apologize, and ordered the plane back to the gate so the flight attendant could be removed. Cho didn't know that the rules had changed: nuts were served in the bag instead of on a plate, as she expected, because of nut allergies. In February of this year, a Washington Post article details how the flight attendant has suffered since the incident.
At the same, people were incensed by what they considered entitlement of the chaebol families, who run Korea's powerful conglomerates. Some believe they act as if they are "above the law," and this situation was symbolic of that criticism.
This week, Cho's younger sister, Hyun-min, is criticized for losing her temper during a marketing department meeting. Some say she threw water at an employee's face, but the airline reports that she threw it on the floor.
Either way, unlike her sister, Hyun-min immediately apologized via text message to the employee and on her personal Facebook page: “I apologize with my head down for my foolish and reckless behavior."
- How else should the company respond to this incident? What should executives have learned from the 2015 situation?
- How could you relate this incident to communication and character issues such as civility in the workplace, conflict management, and humility?