Building Bridges Between Cultures at Kia

3 colleagues smiling and looking at a lap top


400 employees


21 teams
3 languages



of participants say team performance in their department will improve.

Kia Corporation is a major global player in auto manufacturing, with 51,000+ employees and a network of distributors and dealers in 172 countries. After investing $3 billion into a vehicle production plant in Mexico, Kia’s leadership wanted to address cultural differences among employees, counteract communication breakdowns, and develop a shared vision for effective collaboration among staff and leadership.

Kia Logo


When Kia opened their sixth vehicle production plant in Nuevo Léon, Mexico, they transplanted a South Korean management style and company culture, which caused miscommunications and tension with the new teams in Mexico. “We were so busy during the opening that we didn’t have time to focus on communication, and that needed to change,” said a General Assembly General Manager at Kia Mexico.


After conducting interviews, we discovered that trust, cultural understanding, and communication were key issues at Kia Mexico. We reviewed these issues with department heads, and conducted customized workshops with 21 teams over seven months. Two Aperian facilitators with English, Spanish, and Korean language skills led each workshop with the assistance of a Korean manager and a Mexican manager. Employees gained insight on ways to address specific cultural challenges and developed shared department visions and action plans.


Kia Mexico employees gained skills for productive collaboration, setting the organization up for a more inclusive workplace culture. Out of all participants, 96% agreed team performance in their department will improve based on the skills they’ve developed. One participant commented, “This experience allowed us to achieve agreements as a solid team.”

Rust circle with a quote inside that says Our partnership with Kia was named a top 12 winner in Hyundai Motors Group's Change and Innovation Leaders Awards.

“The workshop helped open team members’ minds to change the way we work.”

Kia Workshop Participant

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