The Implication of Information and Communication Technologies to Public Relations Practice in Thailand
Public relations (PR) practice is undergoing a revolution as a result of the emergence of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The emergence of ICTs is changing the way PR practitioners, individuals and institutions communicate which has consequences for PR practice. However, these changes in PR practice vary across countries with culture playing a crucial role. Thai PR is an interesting example to examine. As Thailand has never been colonised in its 800 year history, and being a homogenous society with the majority of Thai ethnics having a strong faith in Buddhism, a common language (Thai) and a regard for the institution of monarchy, Thailand is unique among Southeast Asian countries. My PhD project attempts to examine the evolution of PR in Thailand. In addition, the study intends to examine the development and implication of ICTs on PR practice in Thailand. Cultural value systems are explained to account for the characteristics and changes of Thai PR practice. The thesis consists of eight chapters. The first three chapters consist of an introduction, a literature review, and a research methodology. The fourth chapter focuses on the evolution of Thai PR occupations in three sectors: government and state enterprise; private sector; and PR consultancy. This chapter presents the historical background and describes key events, organisations and people, which are then drawn together in a way which offers a convincing explanation for the expansion of the PR occupations in different periods of Thai history before the modern era. The sixth chapter presents PR practice in Thailand in the modern era. The roles and types of Thai PR activities, as well as modern Thai PR characteristics are discussed. The seventh chapter examines the linkage between Thai PR practice and ICTs. How Thai PR practitioners use ICTs in their work will be discussed. Cultural value systems are described to help explain Thai practitioners’ behaviour in both chapters: how and why Thai PR has been practiced in the way it has been. Two main research methods – documentary sources and in-depth interviews – are employed in the project. Documentary sources are employed to explain the evolution of Thai PR. Thai senior PR managers who have a crucial role in companies’ policies and long experience in the PR field are interviewed to examine the practice of PR together with the use of ICTs.