Comparison and analysis of workplaces between New Zealand and Thailand

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The ways of work can be different in each workplace. It is crucial to understand ways of work if you want to succeed in working. There are various factors that are not similar in each workplace, for instance "Humour in the Workplace", and "Employment Law". These factors in each workplace not only are different in different countries, but can also differ within the same country as well. If you want to understand ways of work, you need to have a lot of experiences working in different places.

This assignment is an analysis of workplaces between a workplace in New Zealand and a workplace in Thailand. The author has been working in a New Zealand company called "Fibrelink Company Limited" and working in a Thai company called "Phoenix Thai Paper". There are four factors that the author focused on while he was working; "Humour in the Workplace", "Information Technology at Work", "The Future of Work and Changes in the Workplace", and "Marketing".

The definition of humour from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary is "the ability to find things funny, the way in which people see that some things are funny or the quality of being funny" ("Humour," n.d.). Humour in the Workplace is the ability to use humour at work.

The definition of Information Technology from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary is "the science and activity of using computers and other electronic equipment to store and send information" ("Information technology," n.d.). Information technology at work is computers or electronic equipment that is used at work.

The future of work and changes in the workplace mainly depends on strategies of each company. Each company might change their strategies according to their predictions that relate to some factors, for instance laws, company finances. Other changes may be company policies, government, or even currencies.

The definition of marketing from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary is "a job that involves encouraging people to buy a product or service" ("Marketing," n.d.). This means the process by which companies create customer interest in goods or services.

The author provided four questions for each factor and received answers from the director of Fibrelink Company Limited. The answers will be analysed and compared with the author's experiences from a company in Thailand.

Waranyu Tungwatcharobol

The author

The Workplace in New Zealand

The author had been working for a New Zealand company called "Fibrelink Company Limited" from 2 August 2010 to 13 August 2010. Fibrelink is an agency supplying timbers (especially Pine Wood) and pulps to companies in Thailand. Pulps are mainly produced from a New Zealand pulp mill called "Carter Holt Harvey". Timbers mainly come from an Australian timber company called "International Timber Solutions". Fibrelink was founded in 2002.

To deal with the customers in Thailand, it is necessary to use Thai to communicate to Thai customers. Fibrelink therefore has a partner company in Thailand called "Saeng Fah World Trade" which is run by Thais that speak English as well.

Fibrelink's director, Richard Tozer, wants to expand the number of customers that import and use timber. He has been looking on the Thai Yellow Pages website and building a list of companies that might use timber. Those companies are mainly pallet makers.

As the author is a bilingual speaker, Fibrelink's director asked the author to ask those companies if they use timber and if so, what kinds of timber they use. The author has called around one hundred companies and created a database of timber companies in Thailand. The author also translated a brochure from Thai to English as well, for example a products' brochure of different kinds of timber.

Analysis of Humour in Workplace

There are a lot of advantages of having a good sense of humour. The first reason is humour builds cohesion and solidarity. It is very important to build a good relationship with co-workers, customers, and especially bosses. Secondly, humour can sometimes soften the conversation when you want to avoid saying something directly, for instance if you want to suggest to someone that they should be patient while they are doing something, it might be a good idea just to tell them a story, "The Turtle And The Rabbit Run A Race"

However, humour can also cause conflicts if we do not use it carefully. In particular situations, humour can have more than one meaning, for example puns. It depends on the context, background, and intention of the speaker. For example it can be rude if you use some dirty jokes when talking to women, but it can be normal if you using them talking to some men.

Humour in Fiberlink can be quite different from other New Zealand companies because Fibrelink always deals with overseas companies, i.e. a timber supplier from Australia or customers from Thailand. The company therefore has to change styles of humour talking to customers from different countries. For instance when dealing with Thai customers, the company avoids using puns because Thai customers might not understand them. It might lead to miscommunication.

Analysis of Information Technology at Work

As Fibrelink always deals with overseas companies, the computer is one of the main technological devices that it uses. The company director mentioned that email is most important because email is a very effective and economical way of communicating. In some situations, the author thinks email is better than telephone as you can take time to think about what you want to say. Email is important when you want to communicate something in detail, e.g. statistics, because there is the evidence of the communication.

Skype is computer software which helps people talking to other people on the Internet. It has become popular as you can see faces while talking. It is also free and you can talk to more than one person at a time.

Analysis of The Future of work and Changes in the Workplace

The future of work and change in the workplace is mainly based on situations and decisions of each company. From the interview, Fibrelink's director said how he extended his office spaces for larger desk and additional shelves for filing. However, he is now considering moving toward retirement. He is therefore planning to have a smaller office. Also talk about changes I am trying to get into a new market in Thailand by making a number of telephone calls.

Analysis of Marketing

Timbers and carton boards are Fibrelink's main products. As customers are mainly Thais, Fibrelink therefore has to have some business partners in Thailand in order to deal with and maintain relationships with Thai customers, i.e. Saeng Fah Paper and Stationary which deals with pulp customers and Saeng Fah World Trade which deals with timber customers. The company's director also goes to Thailand and visits some important customers at least once every year.

While the author was working, he had made a lot of phone calls with Thai customers since the author is a bilingual speaker and nobody in Fibrelink is able to speak Thai. Eventually, out of more than one hundred phone calls, the author found three potential buyers that might become Fibrelink's customers in the future, i.e. Burunapa Group (Chonburi), Central Wood Prologis (Samut Prakarn) and Petchareon Rung Rueng (Bangkok). The rest of the customers were only interested in using rubber wood or in using second-hand wood. However, they will be in Fibrelink customers' database and might become potential buyers in the future.

The Work place in Thailand

The author has been working in a company called "Phoenix Thai Paper" from March 2009 to November 2009. Phoenix Thai Paper is a paper merchant selling different kinds of papers to printing houses in Thailand.

There are three main products; newsprint, wood-free paper, and grey board paper. The company mainly imports newsprint from overseas, buys wood-free and grey board paper from paper mills in Thailand. The author, at that time, had been working as a sales person. The duties were to collect money from printing houses and to increase the number of customers.

As Phoenix is a paper merchant, the main work is to supply different kinds of paper to printing houses. Printing houses normally buy paper regularly. In this kind of business, there is a custom that paper merchants need to give customers credits of around one to three months, which means they can collect money from one to three months after sending the paper to the customers. The company therefore needs to build a good relationship with customers before selling as the company needs to be able to know about the customers' finances. It is indeed very risky to sell papers to new unknown customers as the company might not be able to get the money back.

From the author's experience, Phoenix never finds new customers from the Internet at all. The author also had a chance to talk to the owner and he explained that there are two reasons that he does not want to find new customers from the Internet. The first reason is he does not know the financial status of those companies. The second reason is he does not have any relationship with them so it is hard to make them interested in buying products from his company. He also mentioned that the main strategy that he uses to increase the number of customers is finding new customers from old customers. As he visits his company's customers regularly, he has many chances to ask them if they know of any strong financial companies and if they can introduce new customers to him.

Comparison and reflections

There are a lot of similarities between workplaces in New Zealand and Thailand. The author thinks that this might be because both companies he worked for dealt with Thai customers. The New Zealand company (Fibrelink) therefore needs to learn how to use language according to Thai culture.

Humour in the workplace in New Zealand is a bit different from humour in the workplace in Thailand. The main reason is because of differences in cultures. English vocabulary is also a lot bigger than Thai vocabulary. For example, puns are not commonly used in Thai language at all. For Thai culture, it is considered to be extremely rude if you use put down jokes talking to another people. It might also lead to conflicts as well. However, for both cultures, the author strongly believes that you have to be very careful using jokes at work. Humour can build a relationship or can break a relationship if we use it differently. We have to be careful when we use the same humour in different situations, a bit like when you use the same joke talking to men and to women.

As the world is getting smaller, information technology at work is quite similar everywhere in the world. In Fibrelink, email is mainly used for communication between the company, customers and suppliers. However, In Phoenix Thai Paper, the telephone is mainly used for communication. The main reason that these two companies use different device for communication is because they are not exactly in the same business. Phoenix Thai Paper only sells products to domestic customers. The customers prefer using a telephone as it is faster and they can sometimes negotiate prices. They normally also fax purchasing details after finishing calls as well. On the other hand, Fibrelink mainly uses emails for communication because it has to deal with overseas customers. It is a lot more expensive to make an overseas telephone call than domestic call. From the author's experience, Thais are not familiar with using emails too. They prefer using telephones.

The future of work and changes in the workplace depends on the plans and strategies of each company. Fibrelink's director was considering moving toward retirement. Phoenix's director however was planning to build another warehouse as the business was growing. Other changes for both companies are the number of customers which are still increasing.

Marketing is considered to be one of the most important things in business. Companies therefore need to come up with new strategies all the time in order to increase new customers. For example, the author was working in Fibrelink, trying to call a number of companies in Thailand, as he wanted to find out which companies use timber. Customers that buy timber from Fibrelink have to open a L.C. (Letter of Credit) when buying timber so there is no risk in this business. The company's strategy is therefore to try to increase the number of customers to as many as possible. Phoenix Thai Paper, on the other hand, uses old customers to find new customers. It is risky to sell products to new customers without surveying the customers first.

Conclusion

It is necessary to learn how to work differently in different countries. For Thai culture, relationships between buyers and sellers are important. There is a phase "relationships comes first, business comes second". This phase probably applies to Thais more than New Zealanders. Thais also appreciate humble people so it is sometimes not appropriate to use some jokes in certain situations, especially to older people. For working in New Zealand, it is better to express your feelings in some situations. New Zealanders are likely to be more direct than Thais. It is however crucial to think carefully before talking or doing anything in both Thais and New Zealand workplaces

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Reference

Humour. (n.d.). In Cambridge online dictionary. Retrived October 2, 2010, from

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/humour_1

Information technology. (n.d.). In Cambridge online dictionary. Retrived October 2, 2010, from

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/information-technology

Marketing. (n.d.). In Cambridge online dictionary. Retrived October 2, 2010, from

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/marketing_1

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