Cultural Constructs in the Korean Diaspora Church Context and the Leadership Challenges They Present to 1.5 and 2nd Generation Korean Women
Lisa Hanmi Pak D.Min.
The purpose of this research study was to determine how the cultural constructs of the Korean diaspora church have presented particular leadership challenges to a group of 1.5 and 2nd generation Korean women and resulted in detrimental experiences. This study is important because it revealed just how limiting and hurtful systems of leadership can be when they are not designed to give opportunities to both women and men. This research study focused on the experiences of Korean Canadian women and created a space for the group to openly talk about their experiences through narrative research, appreciative inquiry, and action research. Findings pointed to cultural factors such as patriarchy, which served to reinforce male-centered spiritual authority, and collectivism, which undercut the women’s self-confidence in speaking up and asking questions and cultivated a dynamic where enough women were more comfortable in upholding the patriarchic status quo. It was clear that the Korean diaspora church must be more intentional in creating leadership opportunities for young Korean women and reconsider the cultural patriarchy that is embedded in the communal dynamic. The research findings were also not limited to the Korean diaspora church context; rather, an examination of how cultural constructs and systems shape perceptions of leadership, understanding of ministry, and of the individual leader is a principle that is transferable to other settings.