For decades, indeed, centuries, Thailand has been known by outsiders as "the exotic land of smiles." Millions of tourists visit Thailand every year, experiencing the always-smiling, friendly and accommodating Thai people. Yet behind the happy facade there is another world that is difficult for most foreigners to understand, especially in the Thai business context. Working with the Thais requires more than an ability to control one's emotions and a readiness to smile in all circumstances - although this is a good start. Cultural Detective Thailand will help you to better understand the Thais and what motivates your Thai colleagues to superior performance.

Cultural Detective Thailand contains the following stories and critical incidents:

  • Recruitment Based on Merit or Social Status?:

    Ms. Jennifer Watson, the sales director from Britain, is advised by Thai senior executives to recruit the least qualified candidate on the shortlist due to his superior social status.

  • Repaying an Old Debt:

    Khun Teeramit, department head in a German subsidiary, is unwilling to lay off a subordinate to whom he is indebted for an old favour.

  • Respect and/or Responsibility?:

    Changes in work organisation put forward by the Australian department head are disliked by Thai supervisors, who offer no alternatives.

  • Why Worry about Deadlines?:

    Singaporean managing director, Mr. Tony Wang, fails to motivate Thai executives to make one final review of a project after months of hard work.

  • Thai Coins:

    Arturo is a 16 year-old Argentine on student exchange in Bangkok.

  • Very Expensive Pen, A:

    Professor Foss, visiting from a prestigious Norwegian university, declines the gift of an expensive pen.

  • Failing to Apoligise:

    Japanese VIPs are offended by the treatment they receive at a Thai luxury resort.

  • Deviation from Target:

    A Thai call centre supervisor, Khun Pornpan, finds it appropriate not to worry the Swedish general manager with results that deviate from the target.

  • I Only Wanted to Help:

    Khun Somsak, a warehouse manager at a Swedish logistics company in Thailand, has a unique solution to unloading containers on a holiday weekend.

Cultural Detective Thailand was authored by Anders P. Hovemyr, Professor Khunying Maenmas Chavalit, Axel Blom and Dianne Hofner Saphiere.