People Innovation Excellence

Practical leadership in Thailand

Practical leadership in Thailand


There are three forces that drives leadership style in Thailand; socio-cultural, economic, and political. Political force is absolute monarchy that uses parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. Socio-cultural is including family, indirect communication, and hospitality. Economic force is from multi-national company and more educated people.

Practical leadership in Thailand is divided into three types;

1.       Thai traditional organization

  • Authoritarian

    Command, control, and leader makes all decision.

  • From the front

    Centralization and seldom to trust other’s opinion.

2.       Modern Thai organization

  • Consultive

    Ask more than tell, and retains right for final decisions.

  • From the front

    Using skills, experience, ideas of others, and delegates but keeps “veto power”.

3.       International/ Multinational organization

  • Participative

    Ask more than tell, and group decision.

  • From behind

    Empowerment, teamwork, and motivating creativity.


Based on research result by Natt Pimpa from RMIT University, leadership styles that are applied by many Thais are relationship orientation and strategic thinking.

The preferred leadership style is a leader that is;

  • Warm and charismatic.
  • Show direction.
  • Relationship-oriented style.
  • Flexibility in roles and tasks.
  • Experienced.

The conclusion is in Thai public sector organisations tend to adopt task-orientated, supportive approaches and customer-orientated leadership styles. The traditional types of leadership remain powerful but there is an opposition for more modern leadership style.

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