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Managing in Thailand - Research report
Thailand’s business environment is one that borrows heavily from their norms and cultural values. These include regulations pertaining to relationships, communication, business meeting etiquette, dressing etiquette and even rules to issuing of business cards . Outsiders to the culture might find some of these practices in the Thai business culture new.
In order to succeed in doing business in Thailand, relationship building is an important factor to consider. The Thai will spend much time interacting as well as asking questions so as to build a strong relationship. Before a meeting, they might engage one in informal conversations that will lead to them acquiring more knowledge about the person they’re dealing with . Since the Thai will do whatever it takes to avoid offending the other person, they might not speak their mind in business meetings or even try to oppose certain ideas that you pose. This might mislead a foreign business person that they are okay with the terms discussed only to notice that there is no further communication from the other side, indicating that they’re not comfortable with the terms discussed and have since terminated any business dealings. As an Australian manager in Thailand, it will be extremely vital to have a Thai translator who will among other things read the mood of the Thais and ensure that effective communication is achieved.
Since seniority and hierarchy are very important in Thailand, officials in senior positions will always want to meet Australian counterparts who are similarly senior or in senior positions. Sending junior representatives might be interpreted as a sign of disrespect. When it comes to negotiations and bargaining, the Thai exhibit great flexibility as they are always ready to bargain to a point where they feel that they have achieved a fair deal for both parties. They expect the other side to exhibit such flexibility as well. Gift exchange is a common practice in the Thai business culture majorly to symbolize friendship. However, one should take care not to give expensive gifts as the intention can be misunderstood, questioned or viewed as an offense or as an attempt at bribery.
Other business tips relating to the business culture in Thailand include greetings. The traditional form of greeting is the wai. There is great formality in that kind of greeting with the younger members of the society expected to extend the greetings first . Since they understand that some foreign business people might not be familiar with their culture, they will often extend handshakes with a non-Thai. In that respect, foreign business people are also expected not to use the wai form of greeting or even respond to it. The dress code in Thailand is also mainly formal hence business representatives will be expected to maintain a sharp look. Other issues like exchanging business cards are also done systematically.
In assessing the risks, looking at the country's political stability is vital since this affects all the other factors directly. Owing to the political instability experienced in Thailand, a new business might expose themselves to the political risk . However, the Thai government has put in place strong and well-organized regulations and government policies that cushion foreign investments against such risks.
Technologically, Thailand is adapting quick and their technological exports have risen in the recent past. However there exist technology risks related to human error, spams, phishing and scams, virus attacks, malware and software failure. These lie exactly within the control of the business entity operating in Thailand since investing in exceptional information technology systems can ensure that the business controls such risks or at least manages some of them. Thailand being a big business and technology hub, the scale and level of technology is quite high with big names in the technology sector having their regional headquarters in Thailand. This in addition to government support and accommodative policies ensure that businesses in Thailand feel secure about their technological safety. This is why observations made in the recent past indicate that there have been few cases of hacking, staff dishonesty, fraud and general security breaches related to information technology.
Before setting up business in Thailand, it is vital for an Australian company to first seek reliable legal advice as this will help them decide whether they will set up and to what extent. It is also advisable that an existing or new company be majorly owned by the Thai. That means that not less than 51 percent of the company should be Thai owned with the rest being under the ownership of foreign entities.
The managers should adapt the Thai way of operation for maximum outcome. This however should be done within the law and in consideration of human rights. Regarding the risks involved, the managers should ensure that their business leave little to no chance of any occurrence of the feared risks such as fraud, hack-ins, denial of service, and security breaches. The businesses should then invest in good ad secure information technology systems and embrace new trends like cloud computing.
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Development, O. f. E. C.-o. a., 2011. Thailand, key issues, and policies. 1st ed. Paris: OECD.
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Roberts, G., 2013. Making Money in Thailand. 1st ed. Bangkok: eBookIt.com.
Schaffer, R., Agusti, F. & Earle, B., 2009. International business law and its environment. 7th ed. Mason: Cengage Learning.
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