Not every conflict requires a court's judgment for resolution. In Thailand, the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system allows parties to address their differences through negotiation and other peaceful means, representing the simplest form of ADR. Typically, parties engage in negotiations with the support of legal counsel. The primary benefits of negotiation include complete privacy of information and proceedings, significantly lower costs, and a faster process compared to other dispute resolution methods.

If the parties are unable to reach an agreement independently, they may enlist their attorneys to negotiate on their behalf. Negotiations can continue effectively even after court proceedings have started, often leading to an out-of-court settlement. Negotiation is effective for a wide range of disputes, enabling parties to find a resolution without the need for litigation.

Neutral Facilitator

All other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) incorporate a neutral facilitator who can provide an unbiased opinion during the resolution process. Should negotiations reach an impasse, introducing a neutral third party can transform the process into facilitated negotiation. Despite the involvement of a third party, facilitated negotiation remains more informal than mediation.

Our ADR Services

While clients have the option to negotiate directly with the opposing party in a dispute, many choose to engage the services of a legal advisor. ADR specialists at Juslaws & Consult guide clients on the most effective negotiation strategies in Thailand, including when it's appropriate to communicate directly with the opposing party, as well as employing various techniques to achieve a satisfactory resolution. This guidance encompasses determining what type of compromise would be acceptable.

In Thailand, negotiation itself is not legally binding. However, it is possible for both parties involved in the dispute to agree on creating a legally-binding contract that outlines the terms of the negotiated agreement. This means that should one party fail to fulfill their obligations as specified in the contract, the other party retains the right to initiate legal proceedings.

Thailand & Negotiation Styles

Business negotiations around the globe are heavily influenced by local culture, and Thailand is no exception. For those embarking on a business venture in Thailand, it's crucial to grasp the nuances of Thai culture and its impact on the local approach to business negotiations. Thai society is intricate, enriched by numerous subcultures that affect behavior to a degree that even leading scholars find challenging to fully quantify and explain. Consequently, gaining an understanding of Thai communication styles and cultural norms is paramount before engaging in business within the country. While we will outline some key concepts that could influence business negotiations in Thailand, please note that this list is not exhaustive.

Nonverbal Communication

In navigating cultural nuances across various contexts, recognizing the expected extent of nonverbal communication is crucial. Western-influenced communication styles often do not emphasize nonverbal cues significantly, preferring instead to be direct and detailed in verbal exchanges. In contrast, Asian and African cultures typically place a substantial reliance on nonverbal signals in communication, often opting for less detailed verbal interactions. This difference underscores the importance of adapting communication strategies to align with the cultural expectations of your counterparts.

Nonverbal communication encompasses the conveyance of information through context, spatial relations, and body language. Generally, Thai people are particularly mindful of their emotional expressions. Similar to other Asian cultures, they heavily rely on nonverbal cues due to their indirect verbal communication style. This reliance on nonverbal signals can pose challenges for non-Thai businesspeople accustomed to the direct and explicit communication approaches prevalent in Western cultures.

In Thailand, smiles play a significant role in nonverbal communication, with around thirteen different types recognized within Thai culture. These range from sad smiles and teasing smiles to polite smiles, each varying in intimacy and context. Given the subtlety of communication in Thai culture, there is also a strong emphasis on observing and interpreting the body language of others.

Understanding these nuances is essential for grasping the dynamics of Thai-influenced business negotiations and the expected style of conducting such negotiations in Thailand. This communication style is intimately linked to how Thais demonstrate respect towards one another. Recognizing and respecting the role that culture and business etiquette play in shaping business negotiations in Thailand is crucial. It's not merely about adapting to different communication styles but also about appreciating the deep cultural underpinnings that inform these interactions.

Verbal Communication

Due to the significant reliance on nonverbal communication among Thai individuals, they are also particularly attuned to the tone of voice used in conversations. Behaviors often seen in Western business negotiations may be perceived as signs of immaturity by Thai negotiators. Thus, maintaining control over emotional expressions is crucial when communicating with Thai companies. Moreover, those unaccustomed to Thai-influenced business negotiations may find the indirect communication style of Thai individuals challenging to navigate.

Kreng Jai Concept

The concept of Kreng Jai is uniquely Thai and does not have a direct English equivalent. Moreover, explaining it to those outside the Thai culture can be challenging due to its highly contextual nature. Generally, Kreng Jai involves refraining from expressing one's own ideas and desires to avoid causing conflict or discomfort to others, thereby preserving harmony in relationships. This concept is characterized by several behaviors:

- Reluctance to assert one's rights.Hesitation to critique the work of supervisors or peers.
- Caution in issuing orders or instructions to those who are more experienced or older.
- Reluctance to express dissenting opinions.
- Concealing feelings of anger or dissatisfaction to prevent causing discomfort to others.
- Avoiding actions that might inconvenience or disturb others.
- Prioritizing the fulfillment of others' needs and preferences.

While Westerners may often find the Kreng Jai approach challenging or frustrating, it is frequently utilized within business contexts and even in international negotiation processes. A significant aspect of this intercultural communication style centers on avoiding conflict. This emphasis on harmony and non-confrontation plays a crucial role in facilitating smooth interactions and negotiations, particularly when bridging diverse cultural backgrounds.

Role of Buddhism in Communication

Buddhism has been the dominant religion in Thailand for centuries, with up to 95% of the population adhering to it. Its prevalence has profoundly influenced intercultural communication and the everyday lives of Thai people. Among the two main branches of Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism is far more popular in Thailand than Mahayana Buddhism. This widespread belief in Theravada principles means that many Thai people place strong emphasis on concepts such as karma and the acceptance of one's place in the world, including the social class into which a person is born. Consequently, Thai people are generally less inclined to challenge their perceived role in society and are attuned to the societal positions of others, often questioning behaviors that seem to deviate from these roles.

As a result, Thais tend to be soft-spoken and polite, characteristics that extend to their negotiating style.

International Negotiation Tips

Be Prepared
International business negotiations carry their own set of complexities. To ensure you remain focused and effective, thorough preparation is indispensable. Familiarize yourself with strategies commonly employed in business negotiations, and clarify your objectives and the realistic offerings of the opposing company. Conduct comprehensive research on aspects such as pricing, timelines, and precedents set by similar agreements. Anticipate potential challenges, recognizing that they may vary significantly from those encountered in your familiar business environment.

Be Sensitive to Culture
A key component of business negotiation is relationship building, which necessitates a deep sensitivity to the diverse cultures you engage with. Negotiating styles can vary widely across different cultures, making it essential to understand these nuances beforehand. Before entering any negotiation, compare the cultural norms you're familiar with to those of the culture you'll be interacting with. Consider how they approach small talk, their openness to discussing prices, the nature of their professional relationships (whether close-knit or more formal), and their willingness to acknowledge challenges.

Esure You Have Adequate Resources
After conducting thorough research and preparing your presentations and arguments, it’s crucial to assess the situation further to determine the resources required to effectively present your case. Ensure that you have ample resources available on the day of the negotiation. Keep in mind that conditions can change unexpectedly, making contingency plans essential. Consider how you would proceed if, for example, there is a power outage.

Strive for a Dynamic, Reliable, and Open Working Relationship With Business Partners
This is particularly crucial when conducting business negotiations in Thailand or similar environments, where self-control and respect are foundational to success. Sensitivity to the cultural nuances of those you are engaging with is as vital as sustaining business relationships that grant you insight into the tactics and strategies of potential partners. It’s important to recognize that personal connections may not always be feasible in international business settings. However, this should not deter you from establishing strong professional relationships with your counterparts, including key decision-makers.

Be Driven by Integrity
Achieving long-term success in business negotiations is rooted in adhering to ethical business practices. Avoid misleading decision-makers or employing flattery as a tactic. Maintain transparency in negotiations, being honest and open about pricing, and ensure that agreements are made within the realm of ethical conduct. Conduct thorough research to better understand potential deceptive tactics by the other management team. If necessary, consult with a lawyer. Avoid engaging in conflicts or reciprocating unprofessional behavior.

Do Not Be Too Rigid
Flexibility is key in your business dealings. Companies may be at various stages of development, meaning your initial plan might not align with the other company's current situation. However, this discrepancy does not preclude the possibility of finding a viable alternative.

Rely on Realistic Commitments
Carefully examine the available options, be realistic about pricing, and conduct thorough research. Do not expect more from the other management team than what is feasibly possible; doing so only sets you up for disappointment.

Confirm Understanding
Ensuring that you have a correct grasp of all details is crucial, as misunderstandings can lead to significant issues in business. Verify that you fully comprehend the focus of any report and the implications of interview findings. Additionally, confirm your understanding of agreements with other management teams before finalizing anything.

Prepare yourself for the case where negotiations might fail
Any negotiation can, and occasionally will, end without success. Brace yourself for this eventuality, understanding that even efforts to secure an alternative deal may not always be fruitful.


Juslaws & Consult strongly advocates for utilizing negotiation as a method to resolve disputes in Thailand. This approach enables the parties involved in a conflict to collaboratively work towards a mutually agreed-upon solution.

Our attorneys are well aware that litigation remains a viable option for clients embroiled in disputes. However, we consistently advise our clients that sometimes the most effective resolution does not necessitate court action. Beyond negotiation, the Juslaws & Consult ADR team in Thailand also provides arbitration, mediation, and mini-trial alternatives when deemed appropriate. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Juslaws & Consult.