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What Is the Difference between Thai and International Working Cultures?

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Thai and International working cultures differ in various ways, including communication styles, work ethics, management styles, and workplace hierarchy. Here are some key differences between the two:

  1. Communication Style: In Thai culture, indirect communication is preferred, and people tend to avoid confrontation or criticism. They may use nonverbal cues or ask questions to communicate their message indirectly. In contrast, the International culture is more direct and straightforward in communication.
  2. Work Ethics: Thai culture values the idea of “sanuk,” which means to enjoy one’s work and find pleasure in it. It also emphasizes the importance of building relationships and maintaining harmony in the workplace. International work cultures prioritize efficiency, productivity, and results over enjoying work.
  3. Management Style: In Thai culture, the management style is often hierarchical, and decision-making is centralized. Employees may be hesitant to offer suggestions or ideas to their superiors. In international cultures, the management style is more participative, and decision-making is often delegated to employees.
  4. Workplace Hierarchy: Thai culture emphasizes respect for authority, and employees are expected to show deference to their superiors. International cultures place less emphasis on hierarchy and focus more on collaboration and teamwork.
  5. Time Management: Thai culture values flexibility and may have a more relaxed approach to punctuality and deadlines. In contrast, international cultures place a high value on time management and punctuality.
  6. Personal Relationships: In Thai culture, personal relationships and social connections play an important role in business dealings. Building rapport and trust is crucial for successful business transactions. In international cultures, business relationships are often more formal and transactional.

It’s essential to keep in mind that these are generalizations, and there will be variations within each culture. Still, understanding these differences can help individuals navigate and adapt to working in different cultures more effectively.

Asian culture tends to value face.

What increases or damages a reputation remains a paramount priority in most decision-making metrics.

Some reports from Thais:

Thais tend to “follow the rules or work inside a box or closed system for insights, perspectives, and problem-solving.”

In American culture, “Rules are meant to be broken.”


Rules are meant to be bent or broken.

Limits are to be pushed.

Bound by personal and common morality (ethics).


How is this connected to the IELTS test?

Understanding Western culture can be relevant to taking the IELTS test because the test is designed to assess a person’s ability to communicate effectively in English, which is the language primarily spoken in Western countries. Thus, having a basic understanding of Western culture can help test-takers better comprehend the context of the reading and listening passages, and to express themselves clearly in the speaking and writing sections.

For example, in the writing section, test-takers may be asked to write an essay about a social or cultural issue. Having an understanding of Western culture and values can help them express their ideas more effectively and provide relevant examples. Similarly, in the speaking section, test-takers may be asked about their opinions on various topics related to Western culture, such as politics or education.

Moreover, the IELTS test is commonly used for academic and professional purposes, such as studying abroad or seeking employment in Western countries. Having an understanding of Western culture can help test-takers better prepare for living, studying, or working in a Western culture environment, which is likely to differ from their own culture.

Therefore, while understanding Western culture is not a specific requirement for taking the IELTS test, it can be beneficial for achieving a high score and preparing for academic or professional opportunities in Western countries.

Contact us today if you’d like more information on the IELTS exam or check out our Youtube Channel on some of our training sessions.

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