Management Control in a Thai-Owned Chicken Company in Thailand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The purpose of this study is to add to our knowledge of the composition and exercise of management control systems (MCSs). The study focused on a Thai-owned chicken processing company in Thailand. Although most previous studies on MCSs have examined the use of MCSs as developed in mainly English-speaking countries in the West, there are some studies set in emerging economies in South and Southeast Asia around Thailand. These have found a variety of factors that affect the composition and exercise of MCSs. These factors include national culture, employers’ and employees’ demographic characteristics, ethnic tensions, political intervention, and liberalisation and privatisation.
Thailand was chosen for this study because the author is Thai and because few previous studies had been done about Thailand. Thailand has been influenced significantly by Western ideas but differs from many of its South and Southeast Asian neighbours, such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, in having maintained a much greater degree of formal political autonomy than these countries. Its national culture differs from these neighbouring places.
The researcher took an ethnographic approach to her study. Empirical materials were collected about the Saha Farms Company, a large family business, with the cooperation of the owners, including the founder, who is still the chairman. Methods included non-participant observation, semi-structured and unstructured interviews, examination of documents, such as websites, newspapers and graduation booklets, and informal social contacts, such as conversations over a meal. The materials were interpreted to obtain an in-depth knowledge of the social life that underpins MCSs exercised in the Company.
The findings indicate that some factors from previous studies, namely national culture and demographic characteristics, are relevant to the Saha Farms Company’s MCSs. They also indicate that other factors not identified in previous studies are important; for example, being a family business, competition in the markets for labour and custom, and labour laws have influenced and shaped the Company’s MCSs. All of these reflect a Thai culture that is unique, unspoilt by European colonialism, and still rooted in three fundamentals, namely the nation, Buddhism and the monarchy. Conversely other factors found in previous studies, such as ethnic tensions, political intervention, and liberalisation and privatisation, seem not to be relevant in the Saha Farms Company.
The findings of this research could be extended further in future research to obtain a broader picture of MCSs in use in Thailand. For example, these findings could be compared with the MCSs in a Thai family business in which the founder is no longer involved. A Thai non-family business and a Thai subsidiary or Thai head office of an international business could be studied; or a company based in an urban area.