SILPAKORN UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, HUMANITIES, AND ARTS, Vol 13, No 2 (2013)

Characteristics of Culture in Thai Society and Virtual Communities

Kumpol Buriyameathagul




Abstract


This study investigated the extent to which cultural characteristics of Thai society are evident in internet based virtual communities. Cultural characteristics were assessed using six dimensions of culture proposed by Hofstede and data collected by a questionnaire posted at web sites which satisfied the characteristics of a virtual community. Responses were obtained from a sample of 432 members of the target population of Thai individuals who were at least 18 years of age and were active in these virtual communities for at least an average of seven hours each week. It was found that three of the dimensions of culture (Individualism, Masculinity, and Indulgence) were significantly more evident in Thai society than in the context of a virtual community with no significant differences for the other three dimensions (Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, and Long Term Orientation) although there were a few components associated with these other three dimensions which were significantly more evident in one or the other of the different contexts. Given that Individualism, Masculinity, and Indulgence are not strong characteristics of Thai society it was concluded that the culture experienced in a virtual community was compatible with that experienced as a member of Thai society and based on the few differences that were found practical recommendations were made for bringing the culture of a virtual community into closer alignment with that of Thai society.

Keywords: Culture; Thai society; Virtual community

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