High context vs. low context– Thailand is a high context culture which means that “meaning is implied and internalized using shared codes based on values, context, non-verbals, setting, and other cues” (Freitag & Stokes, 119).
Individualism vs. Collectivism– Thailand is a highly collectivist culture, which means that there is a long-term commitment to members of the in-group. Collectivist cultures also override any social rules/regulations in order to help or show loyalty to the members of their in-groups. More specifically, “Thai are not confrontational” and often a “yes” will not mean agreement but rather to save face. Thai culture is highly sensitive and does not condone shaming in front of others that is especially important when doing business as they highly appreciate personal relationships.
Power distance- Thailand’s power distance score is 64 which is relatively low when compared to other Asian countries, which on average score 71. This means that in Thailand’s society inequality exists and there is a “strict chain of command and protocol are observed.” This means that it is a hierarchical place in which superiors are respected and addressed formally and those in lower ranks seek guidance and instruction from their superiors.
Uncertainty Avoidance- Thailand culture scored a 64 in uncertainty avoidance meaning that Thai culture likes to avoiding uncertainty. It also means that there are strict sets of rules, regulations, and standards that are implemented and enforced that are followed; anything deviating from that causes anxiety. Change is also not accepted easily, it is only accepted when it benefits the “greater good of the group”.
Masculinity-Femininity- Thailand is a feminine society meaning that they are less competitive and assertive when compared to other societies. It also means that there is more value in loving or liking your trade/profession as opposed to being highly successful, but miserable. Feminine cultures also adhere to more to traditional roles concerning males and females.
Relationship vs. Task Orientation- Thailand is a relationship oriented country, who value tradition, respect, among other societal values. Personal relationships and networks are highly important, as is saving face, working hard, and showing a “sense of moderation.” Being a relationship oriented culture Thais are flexible, tactful and fluid when conducting business.
Chronemics- Thailand culture functions in polychronic time, which means that things function in a fluid manner. For example, if a meeting is set to start at 1:00 p.m. plan to start the meeting at 1:30 p.m.
Proxemics- Deals with personal space, there is no concrete information of Thai proxemics, however deriving from other Asian cultures there are more comfortable maintaining little personal space.
Haptics- “Thailand, the head is considered the center of one’s spirit and power, so must never be touched” (Freitag & Stokes, 69).
Occulesics- When greeting people in Thailand, one places hands together and vows lowering one’s gaze; the deeper a vow, more respect is shown.
Kenisics- Body language in Thailand is important to keep in mind especially when concerning the head. It is highly offensive to pat or pass anything over the head, as it is believed that the head is the “seat of the soul.” Also, remembering no to sit in a manner in which the bottom of one’s shoe is not exposed because doing so would be highly offensive (Freitag & Stokes, 67).
“THE HOFSTEDE CENTRE.” Cultural Insights. N.p., n.d. Web. http://geert-hofstede.com/thailand.html
Freitag, Alan, and Ashli Quesinberry. Stokes. “A Broad Cultural Profile.” Global Public Relations: Spanning Borders, Spanning Cultures. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: New York, NY, 2009. Print.