Capital: Bangkok Population: 64,865,523 Ethnic Make-up: Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11% Religions: Buddhism 95%, Muslim 3.8%, Christianity 0.5%, Hinduism 0.1%, other 0.6% (1991) Government: constitutional monarchy
Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma Climate: The local climate is tropical and characterized by monsoons. There is a rainy, warm, and cloudy southwest monsoon from mid-May to September, as well as a dry, cool northeast monsoon from November to mid- March. The southern isthmus is always hot and humid.
A group of researchers says an experimental AIDS vaccine trial in Thailand shows the shot has a modest but significant effect. The trial has been hailed as the world's first successful AIDS vaccine trial. Efforts are under way to reclaim the lost mangrove swamps that have been destroyed as a result of economic development.
The wai is the common form of greeting and adheres to strict rules of protocol. The wai is both a sign of respect as well as a greeting. Respect and courtesy are demonstrated by the height at which the hands are held and how low the head comes down to meet the thumbs of both hands. The person who is junior in age or status is the first one to offer the wai. If there is a great social distance between two people, the wai will not be returned.
Thais respect hierarchical relationships. When Thais meet a stranger, they will immediately try to place you within a hierarchy so they know how you should be treated. Status can be determined by clothing and general appearance, age, job, education, family name, and social connections.
Thais place great emphasis and value on outward forms of courtesy such as politeness, respect, genial demeanor and self-control in order to maintain harmonious relations. It is a non-confrontational society, in which public dispute or criticism is to be avoided at all costs. To be openly angry with someone might attract the wrath of the spirits, which in turn could cause violence and tragedy. Openly criticizing a person is a form of violence as it hurts the person and is viewed as a conscious attempt to offend the person being rebuked. Loss of face is a disgrace to a Thai so they try to avoid confrontations and look for compromises in difficult situations. If two parties disagree, one will need to have an outlet to retreat without losing face.
The wai is the traditional form of greeting Thais use first rather than surnames, with the honorific title Khun before the name Wait for your host and hostess to introduce you to the other guests. This allows everyone to understand your status relative to their own, and thus know who performs the wai and how low the head should be bowed.
Prefer doing business with people they respect It usually takes several meetings for relationships to develop Important to be respectful and courteous because it leads to harmonious relationships necessary within business Nonverbal communication is often more important; important to watch your body language and facial expressions as they will be believed over your words
Appointments are necessary and should be made a month in advance Good idea to send a list of who will be attending the meeting and their credentials Arrive on time as it signifies respect for the person you are meeting Send an agenda and material about your company as well as data to substantiate your position prior to the meeting Written material should be available in English and Thai
Business attire should be conservative Business cards should be handed out after the initial handshake and greeting. You should give your card to the most senior person first. Deliver your business card using your right hand so the Thai side faces the recipient
Business is more formal than in western countries Observe a strict chain of command Managers may take a somewhat paternalistic attitude to their employees Readiness for change is low and any changes must be viewed as beneficial for the whole organization and not just the individual
Because it is a relationship-driven culture, taking time to get to know someone always takes precedence over any timelines Employees show respect and deference to their managers and it is important that the manger maintain their role as “boss” Important that managers do not shame their employees in front of their colleagues when they make a contribution that is not useful or necessary