Marketing curriculum preparedness for Thailand: Comparing research for marketing curriculums in colleges and universities for higher education institutions in Thailand

Jason Lee Carter (International College, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok, Thailand)

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics

ISSN: 1355-5855

Publication date: 14 November 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the key areas of marketing research inefficiencies for marketing education development in Thai colleges and universities so that possibilities of future research development can be encouraged and enhanced. It is a direct reflection of the drivers of marketing in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) cross-correlated with issues that affect the development of adult learner curriculums with regard to the level of preparedness of future marketing leaders.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a quantitative focus on three different factors, but is not mutually exclusive since some research and reports resulted in multiple responses. Frequency distribution is used with both single and multiple answers.

Findings

The data reveals focuses on scholarly excellence from a nationalistic Thai cultural perspective that is devoid of impact to the future Thai social environment.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations are linear showing a unified vision across Thailand’s educational development with little variations in concept and outcome, using only Thai sensibilities as the guidepost for progression.

Practical implications

The benefit garnered from this type of study will be useful for corporate entities looking for trained and prepared marketing leaders of the future in the country of Thailand and throughout the AEC.

Originality/value

The scope is unique with very little likewise research previously conducted, focusing on a more effective model can be seen for Thailand’s future marketing curriculum development.

Keywords

Citation

Carter, J. (2016), "Marketing curriculum preparedness for Thailand", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 28 No. 5, pp. 1015-1030. https://doi.org/10.1108/APJML-09-2015-0148

Download as .RIS

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Introduction

Higher education in Thailand is a growing concern for many investors and global economic developers. As global markets increase, the concern is to ensure that future generations of adult learners are adequately prepared for a combined community of economies. True to the concept of a collectivist society, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) represents one of the most lucrative opportunities for future global economic progress. This vital role is hampered by key deficiencies in the available constructive policies and procedures that can help to prepare future generations for global economies. More specifically, there is little or no research done to correlate specific areas of business development with the curriculum for young adult learners throughout the AEC in Thailand’s adult learning institutions that target key tasks and functions of the corporate entity for the future, such as with marketing education. While research does exist that notates the need for attention and development of marketing programs and systems in Thailand correlating with the AEC, little is said as to what critical focuses exist for the cultivation of marketing curriculum for future business leaders. It is this realization that drives the intent of this report in order to examine the available research on factors and models identified in other parts of the world, specifically from other countries within the AEC, as well as the factors that concern AEC development.

Review

From the perspective of applicability, the understanding of what the AEC represents to people who will live and work in this new economic powerhouse as a source of identifying how those people will incorporate it into their lives is what is of concern for the Southeast Asia-Pacific region. From the individual cultural standard, and from the view of the individuals living in those countries, the AEC is unidentifiable (Lozada, 2013; Robertson, 2006). For decades the people in the Asia-Pacific region have been pushing for the populace to become better prepared for the AEC, but yet in the year that the economic union is set to begin most people still consider themselves as a separate country with their own individual unique cultural identities (Lozada, 2013). Little attention is paid to the collective identity of the AEC, nor of such a notion’s extreme importance to its long-term success. Thais still consider themselves Thai despite their widespread programs of awareness for the union’s start-up (Igel and Numprasertchai, 2005; Lozada, 2013). Vietnamese still regulate their lives according to the tenants of communist doctrine regardless of its inapplicability to the stipulations of the AEC Charter (Igel and Numprasertchai, 2005; Ng, 2001). Filipinos still consider themselves closer aligned to Americans than they do to any other Asian culture (Lozada, 2013). Is it really any wonder that there is little or no preparation of educational curriculum realistically prepared for such a union? In fact, this very conundrum is the key factor in why there is virtually no existing research identifying the specific needs of developing a collegiate-level marketing curriculum that meets the demands of the forthcoming AEC in both practicality scope and Charter outline.

This report pinpoints the research needs for curriculum development in Thailand from both national perspectives and from the views of educational development experts. It should examine the standards of globalized marketing curriculum expectancies for the near future to draw comparisons with Thai curriculum development needs and the cross-correlation that marketing curriculum experts have stated are essential. In order to help validate this approach, an examination of the conditions and development of marketing curriculum implemented in the European Union (EU) will also be reviewed so that a model for comparisons on challenges, successes, and failures that the AEC can learn from in marketing curriculum development efforts.

Research methodology

The pertinent research reviewed was obtained via online journal resources, as well as journal sources from the researcher’s university of employment’s institutional library that provided access to regional and international reports and academic articles. All reports and articles reviewed were from recognized journals pertaining to collegiate curriculum development, critique, and/or qualification. The research methodology is a quantitative focus on three different factors, but are not mutually exclusive since some research and reports resulted in multiple responses. Those aforementioned focuses included the following:

  1. the findings from educational institutions throughout Thailand centered on the identification of critical areas of collegiate curriculum development compared with external reviews of the same areas to penetrate potential nationalistic bias or external prejudices;

  2. the review of educational experts’ reports for marketing curriculum development that are focused on the expectancies of a globalized program, but from regarded reports from around the world, not just one country or region, so that a non-biased approach can be seen; and

  3. a review of pre-establishing identifications and post-implementing results from the EU’s curriculum development for dangers or recommendations.

Frequency distribution is used with both single and multiple answers for curriculum development than the rigidity of one or two styles that belies the report’s quantitative point (Bryman, 2011; Pansiri, 2005). This contributed to 154 multiple coded responses, sometimes contrasting with single coded responses, and analyzed through univariate data analysis specifically for frequency distribution on reoccurring responses. Data pertaining to the development and conditions was analyzed with a pragmatic eclectic tactic matching the first two focuses with commonalities from the third focus (Pansiri, 2005).

The data analysis was a listing of the reviewed reports and articles for analysis with an alphanumeric codification mechanism. This served the purposes of both easier analysis comparison, as well as an unbiased approach to identifying the contributing research input. It also allowed for the summation of data tables not only for their own individual data table revelation, but also for the variance analysis for patterns of relevancy and repetition.

The first factor of findings from educational institutions throughout Thailand included a description of the key reoccurring themes among the reports and articles identifying the conditions of curriculum development. These findings were assigned using an alphanumeric system to identify each individual theme, and then summed for the number of occurrences that particular theme was found. This was a quantitative assessment of findings conducted in each report or article correlating the themed response with the overall factor being marked.

For the second factor of educational experts’ reports for marketing curriculum development, again the description of the factor’s key response themes was listed using an alphanumeric system for comparison, followed by the codified source, and then summarized for each themed response. As with the first factor, this was a quantitative assessment of the findings in each report or article corresponding to themed responses of the overall factor.

For the third factor of the EU’s pre-establishment identifications and post-implementation results curriculum development, the description of the key factor for concern in an alphanumeric system was followed by the codified source, and then ending with the same type of summation. Unlike the first two factors that examined the current and ongoing circumstances of business marketing curriculum development in Thailand and the AEC, this was a quantitative measurement of the possible themes that could affect the Southeast Asia-Pacific region from the comparative review of the EU experiences and best practices.

The final component to the data analysis was a summarization of responses from the first two factors in cross-comparison with the third factor. Such a cross-comparison focus utilized a pragmatic eclectic tactic to correlate the first two focuses against the outcomes that were relevant in the third focus. This approach allowed for a penetration of results that eliminated affectivity of bias, culture, accountability, etc. A simple ratio variance calculation was used to show the first two factors’ percentage outcomes as the first variable, and the third factor of closely corresponding percentages as the second variable. For this measurement, the relative difference in the order of the numbers is not significant because only a division of the difference between two numbers by the average is being calculated.

A model of this calculation can be seen below where the coded factor Aiv: 11.76 percent is being calculated against the coded factor Ci: 13.85 percent, and is shown thusly:

Calculate the percentage difference between V1 = 11.76 and V2 = 13.85

( | V1 V2 | / ( ( V1 + V2 ) / 2 ) ) × 100 = ( | 11.76 13.85 | / ( ( 11.76 + 13.85 ) / 2 ) ) × 100 = ( | 2.09 | / ( 25.61 / 2 ) ) × 100 = ( 2.09 / 12.805 ) × 100 = 0.163217 × 100 = 16.3217 % difference ( rounded : 16.32 % )

Findings

Factor 1 (see Figure A1) findings analysis shows the highest focus for research development recognized on a national level for Thailand is a tie between Avi: the physical condition and resources of the learning environment and Avii: the support of the research and academics over social activities as an imperative. Both are standing at 23.5 percent of the sampled reports and articles, respectively. The second strongest focus was for Ai: teamwork learning skills in adult education at 19.6 percent. The need for Av: services for helping to develop and enhance community infrastructure and profitability showed only 1.96 percent of the sample. The future of marketing curriculum development focuses on scholarly excellence, not on the impact to the social environment.

Factor 2 (see Figure A2) analysis shows the largest focus is tied between Bii: the need for mathematical, accountancy, and science subjects and Biii: the increased usage of Business English in all learning environments, both at 28.95 percent. The least attention was given to Biv: the attention to cultural sensitivities in curriculum development for international expectancies, at 10.52 percent. The realization in factor 2 is the obviousness of the balance spread between each factor category for development that is recognized by the majority of the sample population at each level. The highest percentage rate of 28.95 percent is compared to the lowest of 10.52 percent, a difference of 48.5 percent, but the coefficient between the scores was only 8.65 percent in variance between the samples. This is presenting a unified vision across the industry of marketing curriculum development with very little variations in concept and outcome based on current and future predictors.

Factor 3 (see Figure A3) shows the pre-establishing and post-implementing results from the EU. The highest ranking was shared between five focuses at 13.85 percent each, including Ci: the promotion of an accepting and welcoming international environment for all adult learning institutions, Cii: the responsibility for the development of the local and regional productivity, Ciii: the facilities resources and progressive learning environment, Cvi: the strict adherence to the core development of higher mathematics and accountancy subjects as essential to the adult learning environment, and Cviii: the promotion and inclusion of the study for developing human capital management. The least focused factor amongst the sample population reports and articles was the concentration on Civ: the prioritization of research and academic development, with a result of 9.23 percent. With factor 3 though, we can see that the EU had a more unified vision before and after the union’s startup with the majority of the sample population being in general agreement with the needed focuses. The highest weight was 13.85 percent and the lowest was 9.23 percent, which comes to a difference of only 7.11 percent; considerably better than the current marketing curriculum research for the AEC indicates factor 2. And, with all the samples analyzed the coefficient comes to a 1.92 percent difference in perspectives both before and even after the EU’s implementation.

The cross-comparison of summarized responses in the 12 identified factors (see Table AI) is a revelation of the awareness of the same critical areas for development of adult learning curriculum between the EU and the AEC, with specific interest on Thailand. The results show that four of the factors identified by the AEC and Thailand samples in factor Figures A1 and A2 are irrelevant in Table AI, the EU identifications, specifically Ai, Aii, Aiii, and Biv factors that do not even exist by EU standards. The smallest focus variance was in factors Bv and Cviii showed a variance of only 5.11 percent between the two that indicates a general agreement on increasing the knowledge and management of human capital in business curricula. The need to increase an international environment for adult learning in Aiv and Ci was moderately similar with a difference of only 16.32 percent, with differences on the use of English in business settings having a difference of 91.54 percent. The largest difference of 150.41 percent was in the development of community infrastructure and productivity.

Discussion

Obviously, there is recognition throughout Thailand that scholastic pursuits are of extreme importance for Thailand’s future considering the poor performance in the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual testing ranking near the bottom of the original “ASEAN – 8” (Chinnawongs et al., 2006; Ng, 2001; Pimpa, 2009; Richmond, 2007; Sangnapaboworn, 2003), and even ranking below Vietnam and Cambodia (Schwab, 2012). Thailand’s performance in the next generation’s academic skills is also low in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) study, where out of 65 countries Thailand came in 50th place in mathematics, 48th place in science, and 47th place in reading (OECD, 2014).

But, it is the final comparison between the EU perspectives and the broad research conducted in Thailand and Southeast Asia for the forthcoming AEC that draws the most important comparisons. Again, since there is no existing research for the enhancement of the marketing curriculum in Thailand that denotes the specific categories for development, what is needed is the comparisons of what was foreseen and utilized in the world’s only other comparable economic union, the EU. Since the EU’s educational system consistently ranks higher in the world than most other nation states (Baumann and Hamin, 2011; Dolin and Krogh, 2010; Oldroyd and Sahlberg, 2010), there is some measure of success rationale for making such a comparison as shown in Figure A3. Specifically, we must acknowledge that a cultural difference exists when Western educational systems promote more individualist style learning that includes team-based projects and peer review (Baumann and Hamin, 2011; Oldroyd and Sahlberg, 2010). This is at a level that makes the individual effort more of an imperative for scholastic achievement, as is evident in factor Ai from Figures A1 and A2 having a null comparison with the EU focuses in Figure A3. The factor Aii is also indicative of a collectivist-based society where the inclusion of moral and ethical codes must instilled as a part of curriculum development are seen as mandatory for educational excellence of the institution, not of the individual (Aasen et al., 2004; Dorner and Gorman, 2006; Nguyen et al., 2005). In Western cultures the students’ academic performance does not measure their personal codes of ethics as achievement of the curriculum expectancies, though they are certainly expected to adhere to such criteria intuitively (Bandura, 2002; Jippes and Majoor, 2008; Nguyen et al., 2005).

Such notions should remain as a core component of student expectancies in general adherence to the integrity of the institution, not as a component of the curriculum objectives. A marketing curriculum that is inclusive of moral and ethical implications of student performance would detract from the focus of the marketing subject’s key goals and objectives, and would be better served as an inclusion of a different subject from humanities and social sciences point of view. Additionally, we see Aiii, the inclusion of international curriculum standards for review and modification as per administrators, being unrepresented by the EU, but specifically because, again, we are looking at the EU’s perspective on marketing curriculum development research that does not exist in identifiable quantities in the Southeast Asia-Pacific region. That sort of subject was separated in the EU (Bandura, 2002; Jippes and Majoor, 2008) in order to again ensure that the development of the marketing curriculum research would not suffer any detractors from the subject’s key goals and objectives, especially considering that it is a focus on the administrative side of the educational institution and not in the academic focuses. Finally, we see a null value by the EU standards for the factor Biv, attention to cultural sensitivities in curriculum development for international expectancies, which is due to the separation of perspectives between individualist and collectivist cultures (Bandura, 2002; Jippes and Majoor, 2008). The individualist is more accustomed to dealing with various cultural applications and makes allowances more readily, whereas as the collectivist seldom accepts anything outside of their own cultural perspective. Here is one of the major sources of difficulty facing the implementation of the AEC, where the differences in cultures between member states of the AEC will present significant challenges for communication and cooperation, especially in the standards of curriculum development, administrative functions at educational institutions, and accreditation of curriculum across borders.

From that point, an analysis can be made between the factors that are represented in both regions of the world. As stated before, the difference of 150 percent between the promotion of the community development and the concept of community service is a clear indication that the collectivist cultures of the Southeast Asia-Pacific region are ill-prepared and unfamiliar for concepts of what promotes a significant contribution to a local or regional community’s profitability through an organization’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) (Gurevich, 1975, 2014; Igel and Numprasertchai, 2005). The misunderstanding collectivist cultures have on the subject comes from a lack of understanding the need or support of corporate philanthropy and charity (Binney et al., 2014; Sthapitanonda and Watson, 2015). The visit to China in 2010 by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates to promote these concepts was met with confusion and dismay (Lee, 2010) since the notions of giving away money or resources to anyone outside of the immediate family is considered unreasonable (Peterson, 2005; Tan and Tang, 2014). Yet, from an international economic perspective, those concepts are crucial components of the organization’s effective CSR, and as an economic union like the AEC wants to develop effective marketing curricula, then understanding the role of philanthropy and charity in CSR, as well as the rationale for effective CSR in the first place, will be a vital element to that effort.

A reversal of focuses can be seen in promoting the research environment in academics for Avii and Civ comparisons with a huge difference of 87.2 percent, but with the larger focus on development in this element coming from the Southeast Asia factors (23.5 percent), not from the EU (9.23 percent). As explained already, the role of research and academic development has been largely misaligned from both a lack of understanding the needed development, such as with CSR (Gurevich, 1975, 2014; Igel and Numprasertchai, 2005), and from the inherent challenges of communication and cooperation between individualist and collectivist cultures (Green et al., 2005; Labandeira et al., 2012). So, it is encouraging to see that they are aware of this critical element for development and are making strides in encouraging more research to be done. It is hopeful that they will also recognize the need to conduct research on CSR and individualist vs collectivist elements. Similarly, the need for development of mathematical, accountancy, and science subjects sees a comparable difference in focus of 70.56 percent between Southeast Asia samples (28.95 percent) and the EU samples (13.85 percent) which is also encouraging that the recognition for such development has been made and encouraged throughout the region. The only detractor is that the need for such development was made by the samples collected in factor Figure A2, the educational experts’ reports for globalized marketing curriculum development, but not in Table AI, findings from the educational institutions throughout Thailand, which can show us that Thailand’s awareness of these needs is minimal, at best. As mathematical, accountancy, and science subjects are such core requirements throughout the EU, enough to not even be necessary as a focus in the EU samples where a 1.92 percent variance in the samples’ identified areas of needed development suggest the individualist cultures of the EU are already familiar with such concepts judging by their high academic performance in the WEF and PISA standings, then Thailand’s lack of acknowledgment for this critical component is a disturbing outcome. It is disturbing specifically because those are core functions within any business-related career and job role, but most especially in the marketing strategy of a global corporation’s marketing mix where budgeting and pricing are key integral components for profitability (Bandura, 2002; Jippes and Majoor, 2008), and is obviously an important component of an effective international marketing curricula.

One of the largest differences between the samples from the two regions, with a large 91.54 percent variance, is the focus on Business English. The Southeast Asia-Pacific region has recognized this need significantly with 28.95 percent of the sample population in agreement on its inclusion in curriculum development, and only 10.77 percent of the EU sample agreeing, but this again is easily understandable. Given the Southeast Asia-Pacific region’s burgeoning awareness of the need for the common global language and their relative lacking in such skill (Ng, 2001; Nguyen, 2014), it is not surprising that research development on the subject is recognized. Likewise, the EU’s lack of focus on the issue can be seen as a consequence of being greatly familiar and comfortable with English already (Aasen et al., 2004; Clayson and Haley, 2005), so to include notions of furthering research on the matter is unnecessary. But, as before, none of these observations came from Table AI of Thailand’s acknowledgment on the subject. How an international marketing curriculum can be developed by a country demonstrating such a poor performance in English as per the results of the WEF and PISA (Chinnawongs et al., 2006; Ng, 2001; Pimpa, 2009; Richmond, 2007; Sangnapaboworn, 2003) is a matter that should receive critical reevaluation.

Conclusion

Once there is a better understanding of the differences between community development productivity and community service, the educational institution’s focus on academic excellence will generate advertising and public relations material that promotes the institution’s own corporate social responsibility, and thereby increase the marketing development within that very institution. The focus should be on programs the promote the use of technology for recycling in the community, promoting ethical labor practices for local employers, and employee engagement programs that ensure each member of the company has an adequate home life that increases overall productivity. This will have tremendous rebounds in the development of the institution’s marketing program that can be instilled in the learning curriculum where the institution itself becomes not only a perfect example of the necessary physical condition and resources of the learning environment that promotes marketing principles, and ongoing research and academics that will then incorporate those social activities promoting more CSR without conflicting with scholarly development imperatives. This is, essentially, exactly how the Thai adult learning institution can focus their efforts of increasing academic excellence and raise in the standings of the WEF and PISA results.

The key focuses for research development for marketing curriculum should first be seen in relation to the EU’s separation of business research and the research on marketing curriculum. As the data has shown, there were four elements that the EU experts did not see as inclusive of a marketing curriculum program, namely, the teamwork-based learning skills utilized in adult education learning, the assurance of moral and ethical implications incorporated into the curriculum, the inclusion of international curriculum standards for review and modification as per administrators, and the attention to cultural sensitivities in curriculum development for international expectancies. As noted, including these elements in institutional research is evident in the EU, but not in specific areas such as the marketing curriculum. Those focuses should remain as additional or supplementary focuses that allow for the marketing curricula to stay centered on more effective areas of what the marketing mix encompasses.

Figures

Factor 1: findings from educational institutions throughout Thailand

Figure A1

Factor 1: findings from educational institutions throughout Thailand

Factor 2: educational experts’ reports for globalized marketing curriculum development

Figure A2

Factor 2: educational experts’ reports for globalized marketing curriculum development

Factor 3: pre-establishment identifications and post-implementation results from the EU

Figure A3

Factor 3: pre-establishment identifications and post-implementation results from the EU

Cross-comparison of summarized responses in the 12 identified factors

Code Description % Variance % Description Code
Ai Teamwork-based learning skills utilized in adult education learning 19.6 null
Aii The assurance of moral and ethical implications incorporated into the curriculum 9.8 null
Aiii Inclusion of international curriculum standards for review and modification as per administrators 9.8 null
Aiv Implementation of international environment for all adult learning institutions 11.76 16.32% 13.85 Promotion of an accepting and welcoming international environment for all adult learning institutions Ci
Av Services for helping to develop and enhance community infrastructure and profitability 1.96 150.41% 13.85 Responsibility for the development of the local and regional productivity Cii
Avi Physical condition and resources of the learning environment 23.5 51.67% 13.85 Facilities resources and progressive learning environment Ciii
Avii Support of research and academics as an imperative above social activities 23.5 87.2% 9.23 Prioritization of research and academic development Civ
Bi Inclusion of technology usage with the study of specific curriculum 18.42 52.42% 10.77 Inclusion of technology in adult learning environments Cv
Bii Focus needed for mathematical, accountancy, and science subjects 28.95 70.56% 13.85 Strict adherence to the core development of higher mathematics and accountancy subjects as essential to the adult learning environment Cvi
Biii Increased usage of Business English in all learning environments 28.95 91.54% 10.77 Inclusion of cultural awareness programs as components of effective modern business practice Cvii
Biv Attention to cultural sensitivities in curriculum development for international expectancies 10.52 null
Bv Development of human capital awareness and utilization as a requirement for management 13.16 5.11% 13.85 Promotion and inclusion of the study for developing human capital management Cviii

Appendix. Data summation

The selection of fixes numerically identified the varying alphabetic uses with the number of times that particular letter was seen first in the author names as per APA style, which ensured a desensitized analysis and permitted either single or multiple responses to be measured.

Figure A1

Figure A2

Figure A3

Table AI

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Further reading

Fox, K. and Kotler, P. (1995), Strategic Marketing for Educational Institutions, 2nd ed., Prentice-Hall Publishing, Hoboken, NJ.

Heywood, J. (2005), Curriculum Design, Implementation, and Evaluation in Engineering Education: Research and Development in Curriculum and Instruction, Wiley Publishing, Hoboken, NJ.

Corresponding author

Jason Lee Carter can be contacted at: jlcprofessional@gmail.com