In Thailand, where transgender people, called kathoey, are a common sight at different levels of activities, a case of discrimination by a European company led to a closer study of transgender position in Thai society, especially in the work environment. This article examines the social and legal situation of kathoey in Thailand, as well as the attitudes towards them in society in general. It also attempts to understand the role of Buddhism in the formation of these attitudes. In the above case of discrimination Thai managers started raising questions about the extent to which they should adapt to headquarters’ discriminating culture. The issue of introducing discrimination is an example of the influence of western organizations’ transfer of business practices to countries that depend on their investments. The struggle for anti-discrimination laws and practices in Thailand may be undermined by the introduction of such practices. On the other hand, western organizations face the dilemma of choosing between their values that favour diversity and the impact of their decisions on their image, locally and internationally.
|Keywords:||Transgender, Kathoey, Business Practices, Thailand, International Business, Diversity Management|
Professor, International Business, ICHEC Brussels Management School, Brussels, Belgium
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