Thailand is very popular in Norway. However, Norwegians are not very popular among Thais according to a new study from Hoegskolen in Hedmark.
”The cultural difference is the reason”, professor Ellen Hertzberg answers to the question why Norwegians are not as liked in Thailand as Danes. She is the first fixed-term lecturer of the newly published study from September 2015.
The survey is based on interviews with 255 middle managers from 14 companies in Thailand. According to them the Norwegian reputation is decreasing in the land of smiles, while Danes and Swedes succeed more being liked as middle managers in large international companies.
Even in the hotel and hospital workfields Danes and Swedes are more preferred than their Norwegian colleagues, says the survey.
“Among all Scandinavians working in Thai companies, Danes are the majority, and it is not a coincidence. They’re simply more popular than other Scandinavians,” Ellen Hertzberg says.
After several years investigating how Scandinavians and Scandinavian companies are being regarded in Thailand, Norwegian Ellen Hertzberg argues that the main reason Danes are so popular in Thailand has something to do with the structure of Thai culture.
“Danish people just fit better into the Thai culture. They are smiling, laid-back and jovial,” she says. In return the Swedes are regarded as more impatient and more self-expecting, which can relate back to Swedes being used to independence in the Swedish working life. They expect the same thing of the Thai staff when they arrive in Thailand. Nevertheless, the study shows Swedes are still more popular than Norwegians.
“Norwegians are regarded as strict and very criticalminded leaders,” Ellen Hertzberg says.
Then there is the Thai people themselves. They are known for being kind and gentle, but according to the professor, they need to be clearly informed about what to do. Danes are more likely to give orders in a polite and/or a humourous way and that can be one of the main reasons why Danish leaders are more popular among Thais than their Scandinavian colleagues.