Cultural Differences In Business (Thailand) Essay

1898 words - 8 pages

Cultural Differences in Business

What is culture? Culture is a shared system of symbols, beliefs, attitudes, values, expectations and behavior norms. It is learned by instruction or observing someone else. Prior to visiting another country where the culture is more than likely different from what you are accustomed to, it is imperative to conduct research. Knowing how to greet someone properly in their native language is a good start. The primary language spoken in Thailand is Thai. Chinese, Lao, Malay and Mon-Khmer are also spoken, while English is taught as a secondary language. In the business environment in Thailand, it is important to know what language the person you are ...view middle of the document...

It is common practice for non-Thai people to be placed within a hierarchy in order to determine how they should be treated. A person’s status can be determined by their general appearance, age, type of job, education, family name and social connections. It is their belief that what you have is a reflection of who you are as a person. Appearance is everything! The way you look or present yourself could have an impact on conducting business within this culture. Dressing in an unprofessional manner for a business meeting could possibly have a negative impact on your ability to have a successful meeting or close a business deal. Inappropriate dress could lead to someone not being taken seriously or respected based on their appearance.
Business dress is a huge part of establishing and maintaining business relationships in America and Thailand. A business casual dress code is the “norm” in a lot of business environments in America. Thailand’s business dress code is conservative where the men where dark conservative suits and women wear suits or dresses. In any of these countries, it is imperative to be well groomed and clean when entering a place of work. It’s very important to keep shoes clean and polished as Thai’s often judge on accessories as well as the outfit worn.
Thailand is very pro-business and Thai businessmen only work with those they respect, but do not develop business relationships very quickly. During the first meeting, members get to know each other and business cards are exchanged. Business cards should be presented with the right hand and one side of the business card should reflect the native Thai language. Business cards should be looked at and commented on prior to putting it away, as this is customary in Thailand and other Asian countries. While meeting and greeting, communication of a business nature should not be discussed as discussing any business prior to getting really acquainted is considered impolite in this culture. Whereas, in American culture, business relationships are developed quickly because we are taught that we are in a fast paced environment and we have to get things done quickly in order to move on to the next task. While developing these business relationships in Thailand, you should remember to always be respectful, polite and be mindful of nonverbal communication such as negative body language. Some things Thai’s consider negative body language consists of pointing, making facial expressions, crossing your legs in the presence of the elderly or monks, putting your hands in your pockets while talking to someone and putting your arm over the back of the chair in which someone is sitting. Most of this non-verbal body language is definitely acceptable in America and is not really frowned upon.
Religion in the Thai culture is centered predominantly around Buddhism. The belief in nirvana “an indescribable state free of desire, suffering, or further rebirth, in which a person...

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