Socio-cultural factors influencing face manifestation and communicative behaviour in Thai service encounters

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Nattana Leelaharattanarak


This paper aims at providing the literature review regarding Thai society and values and service encounters which are likely to affect face manifestation and communicative behaviour of participants in the contexts of Thai service encounter by examining socio-cultural and socio-economic factors influencing communicative behaviour of participants. This examination of those influential variables was conducted in order to draw a diagram which demonstrates the relationship between those factors which engender appropriate communicative behaviour of participants in Thai service encounters. Furthermore, this paper also illustrates faces or a basic conceptualized thought that societal members expect agents and customers to perform. Results revealed that the difference in the socio-economic roles (occupation) between agents and customers, power of money which customers occupy and which dominates agents to provide customers with good services, and the Thai value เกรงใจ /kreng cay/ have played a vital role in determining communicative behaviour of participants in Thai service encounters. In addition, faces that agents need to take to meet customers’ expectation in service encounters may contradict those expected by their professional organization.

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