South Korea is coming into its own on the world stage with significant economic power, increased regional influence, and a raised international profile. It should, where practical, avoid regional opposition to this growing footprint. We propose a “soft power” path rooted within the internationally－praised “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) movement. Korea’s global, and especially Asian, image is suffering because of the poor CSR performance by its small and medium－sized companies (SMEs) operating abroad. This negative presents an opportunity for Korea to enhance its country image, and, consequently, its soft power. Our paper first reviews the theoretical basis of soft power within the international relations and marketing fields. After empirically demonstrating how poor CSR has harmed Korea’s foreign image, and why its SMEs have especially weak CSR performance, we propose a solution set.
Ⅱ. Soft Power: Winning Friends and Influencing People
Ⅲ. National Brand: The Psychology of “Country Image”
Ⅳ. Corporate Social Responsibility: A Kinder, Gentler Conglomerate
Ⅴ. SMEs’ CSR Failures: Korea’s Broken Country Brand
Ⅵ. Improving SMEs’ CSR: Cultivating Korea’s Soft Power