We look at Thailand the only county in Southeast Asia that has never been colonized by European power. Known as “the land of smiles” this county is industrializing at an impressive rate, and has become one of the world’s major exporters. (Communicaid) This growing integration of Thailand into the global economy has a lot of ethical concerns. In this report we consider some ethical dimensions, there is much to explore, however we only bring forward some of what we believe to be fundamental aspects for ethical behavior in Thailand:
1. An Example of an Ethical Thai business
2. An Example of an Unethical Thai business
3. Labour history and law
4. Discrimination and diversity in the workplace
A County’s Overview
We first look at some of the Thailand’s facts and figure to get a general view of the country. (CIA)
* Population: 67,091,089 (July 2012 est.)
* Official Language: Thai
* Currency: Baht
* Capital city: Bangkok
* GDP: $609.8 billion (2011 est.)
Thailand enjoys a well-developed infrastructure, an open market economy with generally encouraging investment policies. Its economy is focused on export industries. There Main exports are machineries, electric components, agricultural supplies, and jewelry. (CIA) It’s a country known for its natural beauty, it enjoys a hot and humid climate and its people are warmhearted. (Wise)
Thai Culture –Values and Norms
Religion is the main stimulus and what shapes Thai value. Buddhism the major religion, accounting for 94% of the population. (Wise) Therefore Buddhism beliefs and practices are mirrored in Thai’s personalities. They believe in reincarnation and karma, and this reflects how their moral structure is based, and how they make decisions. Also disrespecting their rituals and symbolize can be very offending to a Thai.
Being a constitutional monarchy, they have a beloved King that is highly respected. Any criticism of the King can be seen as extremely offensive.
The foundation of Thai Society that is given the highest value and importance is family. Families in Thailand stay closely together, and many generations may live in the same house. The parents are greatly respected and have the deepest affection. Usually the oldest male family member is the head of the household, and he usually possesses control and power over them. (Wise) This Power structure is also represented in the business structure. In the old time in Thailand the elder’s instructions must be followed with no questioning. However with modernization this is becoming less true.
Thai’s value indirect communication, they prefer to be subtle. A lot of there communication is made using nonverbal signs. They believe if face saving, so to avoid disagreements and blame. Usually criticism is given indirectly.
Thai Business Values
In Thai business it can be seen how society reflects on the importance of the hierarchy and respect for seniors in the workplace. (Communicaid) It is very important to respect this structure and understand the social status of people.
In Thai culture if you were invited to a social activities, it must be accepted. It is counted rude to reject such an invitation without having a good excuse. (Communicaid) This is also due to the fact that it put a lot of importance on building relationships.
Time is more flexible in Thailand than in western culture. Usual office hours are 9 a.m. to 6a.m. with lunch around afternoon. Due to the inevitable traffic in Bangkok, It is acceptable to be slight late for meetings. (Wise)
Hospitality is the spirit of Thai culture, it can be seen in practice on the social and professional level. Informal talks prior of after a meeting are usual and should not be disregarded. As building a connection is critical to Thais.
The Hofstede approach
To have a better understanding on the implicit drivers of Thai culture we explore it from Hofstede’s 5-D model....