Corporate social responsibility and southern Thai culture: a study of multinational corporations in southern Thailand

Boonyauva, K 2014, Corporate social responsibility and southern Thai culture: a study of multinational corporations in southern Thailand, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Management, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Corporate social responsibility and southern Thai culture: a study of multinational corporations in southern Thailand
Author(s) Boonyauva, K
Year 2014
Abstract Southern Thailand is unique in various ways. Its culture, ethnicity, tradition and value differ from other locations in Thailand. Due to its richness in natural and human resources, Southern Thailand has long been one of the strategic locations for multinational corporations (MNCs) in Thailand especially in Para rubber industry. Culture clearly affects how MNCs operate in the host countries. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is one of the vital business and social actions by MNCs in Thailand. At this stage, however, academic knowledge underpinning the links between Southern Thai culture and CSR still is unclear. This study, thus, explores the effect of organisational culture and Southern Thai culture upon CSR strategy among MNCs in the Para rubber industry in Southern Thailand. To achieve this objective, the study adopted a qualitative study approach. Researcher used in-depth interviews and focus group interviews as primary data collection methods. The in-depth interviews with seven managers and fourteen employees working in international rubber industry was conducted in order to explore issues related to organisational culture and how Southern Thai culture affect CSR strategy. The three focus group interviews with key stakeholders (managers, local community and industrial government officers) were also conducted to investigate their perceptions regarding CSR strategy by MNCs. Findings suggest that leadership influence and corporate actors influence have the large effect on organisational culture towards CSR strategy at MNCs. In particular, different leadership styles are likely to have different personal obligations to undertake CSR strategy and create different CSR activities. In addition, the influences of local culture shapes strong value systems among rubber stakeholders.

The finding suggests that in terms of building up good CSR, working and motivating employees and local community, understanding the uniqueness of Southern Thai culture for MNCs has significance impact upon the operation of international rubber in Southern Thailand. The result reveals specific distinctive characteristics of Southern Thai people. They include Jai-Yai (ใจใหญ่), Trong-Pai-Trong-Ma (ตรงไป ตรงมา), Hua-Mor (หัวหมอ) and Rak Puak-Pong (รักพวกพ้อง) which mean generous, straight forward, shrewd, and communitarian (respectively) have significantly affected on CSR strategy at MNCs. The last finding suggest that understanding different point of views from which managers, local communities and government’ officers look at CSR strategy have pertinent role in stimulating and improving CSR activities. All managers acknowledged that MNCs need strong relationships with local community to be able to work on community development programs. The environmental issue was discussed as negative feedback from local community groups regarding their perceptions towards CSR. Interestingly, social problem issue was reported as critical issue among local people in the community. This study sheds light on the relationship between cultural factors, organisational issues and CSR strategies in the Southern Thai context. It is the researcher’s fervent hope that this research will yield practical and managerial contributions beyond the outcome of these findings, and will create a new understanding of Southern Thai culture linked with the implementation of CSR strategy among MNCs, local community and government officers, thus creating new directions for future research.

Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Management
Keyword(s) Corporate Social Responsibility
Organisational Culture
Multinational Corporations
Southern Thailand,
Leadership styles
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Created: Fri, 12 Dec 2014, 14:25:38 EST by Denise Paciocco
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