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Closing cultural distance: the cultural adaptability in Chinese-related firms in Thailand

Kitisak Sorndee (School of Management, Asian Institute of Technology , Klong Luang, Thailand)
Sununta Siengthai (School of Management, Asian Institute of Technology , Klong Luang, Thailand)
Fredric William Swierczek (School of Management, Asian Institute of Technology , Hanoi, Vietnam)

Journal of Asia Business Studies

ISSN: 1558-7894

Article publication date: 2 May 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to investigate the effect of cultural values and cultural adaptability of Chinese expatriates and Thais on organization performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The designed perceptual scale research instrument adapted from Schwartz’s instrument is used to conduct a questionnaire survey in which 180 sample Chinese expatriates and Thai coworkers participated. Descriptive statistics, factor analysis, and regression analysis were used to analyze the data obtained.

Findings

The authors found that cultural value variables that are significantly related to productivity are social order, openness, and tradition; while cultural adaptability variables found significantly related to productivity are open-mindedness and judgment. When organization performance is focused on innovation, cultural value variables that are found statistically significant are openness and tradition; while cultural adaptability variables that are significant include open-mindedness and personal values. Finally, when customer satisfaction is the organization performance focus, only one cultural value variable is found to be statistically significant, that is, tradition; while cultural adaptability variables that are significant are personal values and judgment.

Practical implications

The results of this study can be used to design new approaches and HRM practices (i.e. recruitment and training) to enhance the corporate culture and cooperation among Chinese expatriates and Thai coworkers to maximize organization performance in a new competitive environment.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the literature on cultural management and cultural adaptability. It empirically investigates the perception of both Chinese and Thais on cultural values influencing the performance of multinational companies. Further, the modified Schwartz’s values survey instrument used in a Thai business operating context makes it a very rare empirical study that provides insight into these issues.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to C. Charoenngam, T.K. Peng, C. Rowley, H. Merchant, and anonymous referees who have reviewed and provided valued comments and suggestions which have significantly improved this manuscript. The authors’ thanks are extended to the sample respondents who participated in our survey without which this study would not have been possible. Any remaining errors are solely the authors’ responsibilities.

Citation

Sorndee, K., Siengthai, S. and Swierczek, F.W. (2017), "Closing cultural distance: the cultural adaptability in Chinese-related firms in Thailand", Journal of Asia Business Studies, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 229-250. https://doi.org/10.1108/JABS-07-2016-0097

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited