Employee behaviour and the role of culture : the case of Thai Airways

Tungtakanpoung, Monrudee (2016) Employee behaviour and the role of culture : the case of Thai Airways. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


This research explores the interactions of people across cultures. It looks into how cultural distinctiveness and cultural characteristics may serve as a strategic resource for organisations. The research investigates whether the sustained success of South East Asian Airlines in achieving high levels of customer satisfaction is influenced by the application of distinctive cultural traditions and values in the delivery of customer service. Given that this service is delivered by a predominantly female workforce, the research explores cabin crew behaviours and values in relation to assumptions about gender roles that are found within the airline industry generally and South-East Asian cultures specifically.

The research is based on a case study of one company, Thai Airways. A triangulated methodology was applied, using a mixture of company documentation, observations and semi-structured interviews. The research aims to inform our understanding of the service interface in a cross-cultural airline environment. Of particular emphasis in this study is the connection between spiritual, cultural values and traditional gender roles within Thai society, which has an impact on the relationship between passengers and cabin crew. The thesis illustrates how the understanding of the relationship between national cultures and individual characteristics can be refined through the use of a conceptual framework.

The findings imply that traditional Thai cultural values underpinned by Buddhist spirituality play a part in shaping the way cabin crew think about their work. These influences help them to respond positively to company policy, which in turn can help to achieve Thai Airways’ corporate goals. This synergy between company policy, national culture and spirituality may shape the quality of the service and help to create customer satisfaction.

The findings demonstrate that there is a relationship between the satisfaction of basic Thai female needs and work-life balance. Thai cabin crews who work in a female environment tend to balance their career, finances and family so that these needs are met.

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