Bees and Butterflies: Thai Workers in Korean Companies in Thailand
Korean management style had a reputation for being paternalistic, militaristic and even a little fierce. This management style was reported to have changed in line with the changing business environment and the different relationships between the public and private sectors in Korea. Yet when Korean firms come to Thailand, they appear to very focused on fostering efficient operations and ensuring a high level of profitability through dedication to work, refusal to tolerate lack of application and general attention to detail. This has resulted in some issues for Thai workers in those Korean companies who find that demands on their time and efforts are more than they may be comfortable with meeting. A programme of qualitative research among Thai workers in Korean companies in Thailand indicates not only the high standards required but also the different cultural assumptions at play. To remedy the gap in expectations, it is possible that encouraging a corporate culture of organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB) would be helpful. In a workplace which lacks the ability of workers to organize for effective collective bargaining and representation, negotiating the conditions under which OCB can be implemented must be managed on an individual or small group level, which may appear to the workers to be another unilaterally imposed requirement that may be resented. These issues are discussed through exploration and analysis of the interviews conducted.
Sittichai Anantarangsi, PhD.
This is the abstract for the paper to be presented by Dr. Sittichai at the forthcoming International Workshop on Korean Trade and Investment in the Mekong Region.