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  1. #1
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    Your comments on the article "WORKING WITH EXPATS "

    I wonder what you expats that are working with Thais have to say about the following article that was in the Bangkok Post yesterday. Do you agree or disagree? What How would you respond to what is discussed below?


    'How do I handle these expats?" asks Jarun, who chairs a new joint venture between a Thai company and a leading multinational that has sent one American and one Indian to join its board.

    "What's been happening?" I ask.

    "After these two expats joined the board, my last two board meetings were chaos. They challenged our executives who presented their business cases. Many Thais who were challenged felt they lost face. The other Thai board members were embarrassed. After the meeting, the expats came to see me and blamed me for not preparing my senior executives for the presentation. Then, the Thais complained that I did not control the two expats," Jarun says.

    "What will you do?" I ask.

    "I have to change the expats' behaviour," he replies.

    "Why?"

    "So the atmosphere in the meeting will be harmonious as before."

    "Why did your company form a joint venture with this multinational?"

    "We want to learn from them. We want to adopt their core values to support our vision to be a world class player."

    "If you're trying to go back to what you used to be, what's the benefit of a joint venture?"

    Jarun is stunned. "Hey, Khun Kriengsak, I don't want to be challenged any more. I already have these two expats on my back."

    "Khun Jarun, I know you feel uncomfortable. But it's my duty to help you to progress. If you want to be comfortable, perhaps you should see a monk or go watch a comedy movie." I can tease him because we're friends.

    Jarun laughs and the tension dissipates. I continue with a story published on Dec 11 in BusinessWeek:

    LG Electronics chief executive Nam Yong and his chief marketing officer, Dermot Boden, had just wrapped up a stormy strategy meeting. Tempers had flared, a rarity in a Korean company where consensus and face are paramount. After the meeting, Nam said: "You know, we argue a lot." Boden was worried that he might have crossed a line that, as an Irishman working in Seoul, he hadn't recognised. Nam then ... turned back toward Boden, and added: "Why don't we argue more often?"

    The contretemps illustrates the cultural shift under way at LG. The company, once among the most Korean of Korea's chaebol, or conglomerates, is pushing to diversify its management and become truly global. Boden is one of five Western veterans of IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and elsewhere that Nam has lured into the executive suite. The foreigners now represent a quarter of LG's leadership and have taken over key positions including purchasing, supply-chain management, and human resources.

    "The story goes on to say that the foreigners were not entirely welcomed by Korean managers. One feared the imposition of a Western way of thinking that might not work in a Confucian culture. Another was nervous about having to communicate in English. Both agreed, though, that the newcomers had been trying to bridge the cultural gap."

    Jarun nods.

    "Khun Jarun, what are benefits from having two expats on your board?"

    "Thai executives are well prepared. They have tons of facts and figures to support their positions. They dig into their work more with their managers. Now, my teams are much more hands-on. But we are not so kan-eng anymore. Everything seems to be so serious."

    "Will these two expats help your company increase its efficiency?"

    "Yes they will, but I want them to have more diplomacy."

    "You should coach them on Thai culture. Be patient and wait for Thais to complete their sentences before asking a question. If you see that a Thai executive is beating around the bush, you as chairman should intervene by politely informing the presenter to get to the point. Expats should use diplomatic words, such as changing 'I disagree' to 'I have a different opinion', or changing 'Why you are doing this?' for 'Give us the reason that you want to do this'. Also, use 'Would you consider' instead of 'Why aren't you doing this?' The Thais should improve their English and your expats should learn Thai."

  2. #2
    Mid
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    What How would you respond to what is discussed below?
    grow up comes to mind ........................

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat
    Marmite the Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chitown
    Tempers had flared, a rarity in a Korean company where consensus and face are paramount.
    Nonsense. Koreans will argue about anything.

    As for the Thai company, it seems that they want to be successful without making the changes that are needed to be successful. Typical really and the main reason why NO Thai companies are internationally successful.

  4. #4

    R.I.P.


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    ^One of the Thai cement companies exports cement to India, well, they used to anyway, wonder if they still do.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat
    Marmite the Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    One of the Thai cement companies exports cement to India, well, they used to anyway, wonder if they still do.
    Siam City Cement were making a real effort to become an international company, but it seems they're panicking and going backwards, as my mate who was employed with a few other foreigners 'high up' has just moved on to Malaysia.

    Lots of Thai companies export, but none are truly international.

  6. #6
    lom
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    One of the Thai cement companies exports cement to India, well, they used to anyway, wonder if they still do.
    There ain't much to argue over cement so they may still export.

  7. #7
    Bounced
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    Lots of Thai companies export, but none are truly international.
    When you say truly international, what do you mean?

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat
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    I guess he means a Multinational, like LG, Panasonic, Toyota etc.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankenstein
    When you say truly international, what do you mean?
    A company that has offices abroad and competes effectively in those foreign markets.

  10. #10
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    I do know that Taiwan sells a lot of cement on the international market.

  11. #11
    Banned Muadib's Avatar
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    You fvck with the bull, you get the horns...

    If Thai companies want to compete on the world's playing field, they have to adopt the cut-throat, aggressive management styles so prevalent today in successful multi-national companies... The concept of 'face' doesn't fit into the equation... It's all about performance... Adapt or die...

    If upper management of Thai companies have difficulty understanding these concepts and lose face when taken to task, the Thai workers in the ranks will absolutely melt under the pressure...
    Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

  12. #12
    Gohills flip-flops wearer
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    Quote Originally Posted by chitown
    Why did your company form a joint venture with this multinational?" "We want to learn from them. We want to adopt their core values to support our vision to be a world class player."
    I might respond thus:-
    Right. Youv'e learnt the words. Explain to me in actions what you think they mean.

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by chitown
    Tempers had flared, a rarity in a Korean company where consensus and face are paramount.
    Nonsense. Koreans will argue about anything.
    I'll say. I've know agreements to specific issues when in negotiations with Koreans to have to be revisited and be renegotioated again every time a new issue was presented. The Kors are persistant. Dumb like a fox....

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat Texpat's Avatar
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    The OP sounds like a case study of Jap multinational companies and their cross-cultural comms in the 70s.

    They've since cleared that hurdle, but not without considerable pain.

  15. #15
    Not an expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Frankenstein
    When you say truly international, what do you mean?
    A company that has offices abroad and competes effectively in those foreign markets.
    Sadly with this attitude Thailand will stay to be nothing but a work bench for the multinational companies.

    Though I think Dusit went international. At least they bought Kempinski hotels.

  16. #16
    Gohills flip-flops wearer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texpat
    The OP sounds like a case study of Jap multinational companies and their cross-cultural comms in the 70s.
    Then taken up (and still adherred to) by European wannabees in the '80's.

  17. #17
    ding ding ding
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    Quote Originally Posted by chitown
    Thai executives are well prepared. They have tons of facts and figures to support their positions. They dig into their work more with their managers. Now, my teams are much more hands-on
    Which begs the question why their government uses patronising phrases like "Businesses in which Thai nationals are not yet ready to compete with foreigner" to protect the Thai worker.
    If they are up to the task, why does their own goverment protect them so?

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spin
    If they are up to the task, why does their own goverment protect them so?
    Because Mr Jarun is full of shit.

  19. #19
    I am in Jail
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    This is quite amusing, I can actually understand both sides as they have both valid points in my opinion.

    Thai are a bit slow, and forcing them to do it your way is not going to make things go faster. Likewise, we farangs, are the White Gods, we know things, we excel in them, and if they want to make it into our kingdom, they need to understand how we work. Of course, we come across as arrogant kunts, and we are, but we have every right to be as we know the ways to run things.

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