Taken from: Suntaree Komin, Psychology of the Thai People: Values and Behavioral Patterns, National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA), Bangkok 1991, ISBN 974-85744-8-2, pp. 1-2. References and tables are available in the original. Typing errors edited.
Interaction between members of different cultural groups is an increasingly common aspect of modern life, as more and more people study, work and settle in cultures other than their own. It makes accurate understanding of another culture a necessity. This is where cross-cultural psychology makes its strong contribution. While psychology is the scientific study of human behavior, social psychology and cross-cultural psychology in particular focus on the ways in which forces that influence Thai social behaviors to the extent that constitute persistent behavioral patterns? And what are the resulting behavioral patterns that are illustrative of the behavior and personality of the Thai, making a systematic understanding of the Thai people possible. This is what this book is going to offer.
In the past few decades, there have been serious attempts to describe and analyze Thai behaviors and social systems, mostly conducted by foreign scholars in the fields of anthropology, sociology and political science. These studies have somehow triggered off a number of unresolved controversial issues, which are largely due to different levels of analyses as well as theoretical frameworks, and unproved speculations. Despite their conflicting interpretations, they are somehow in one way or another concerning with the values and behaviors of the same Thai people. From the discipline of social and cross-cultural psychology, the present study presents an analysis of Thai behaviors and social system from the human value perspective, as a result of a number of large scale research data which have provided some highly consistent and culturally meaningful data. It is the first systematic study of value systems ever conducted in Thailand.
Organization of the Book
To make the book more complete, Chapter I provides first a preview of the existing interpretations of the Thai social systems and behavior.
Chapter II to Chapter V contain the backbone of the study—the details of the systematic study of Thai value systems, from conceptualization of value and related concepts (Chapter II), to the construction of the Thai value measurement instrument (Chapter III), the resulting research reports of value systems of different segments of the Thai society (Chapter IV), and the proof of discriminant validity and convergent validity of the value surveys which shows the relation between values and attitudes, and between values and behaviors (Chapter V).
Chapter VI provides a relative comparison of the American value systems and the Thai value systems in terms of the overall cognitive worlds reflected through Terminal and Instrumental value systems.
Chapter VII provides the most of the Thai value study—the longest chapter containing the subsequent analysis of Thai value systems and behavioral patterns in 9 value clusters depicting the Thai “national character”. Readers who are more interested in the resulting characterization of Thai character would be recommended to read Chapter VII right away.
The last chapter provides cross-cultural implications for the understanding and management of Thai organizational behaviors. It also brings up the theoretical issue of cultural relativity in management theories.