Some members of the Thai research team with Gayle Avery and the Chairman of the Institute for Sustainable Leadership, Professor Harry Bergsteiner.
Some members of the Thai research team with Gayle Avery and the Chairman of the Institute for Sustainable Leadership, Professor Harry Bergsteiner.

Sufficiency Economy Philosophy in Thailand

Our program focuses on new leadership thinking at national and organisational levels in Thailand.

About 30 years ago the Thai King introduced the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP), which is related to Avery and Bergsteiner’s (2010) concept of Sustainable Leadership (SL).

Both SL and SEP call for leadership involving long-term thinking, managing risk, as well as considering the effects of decisions on diverse stakeholder groups.

To assist practising managers, SL identifies 23 practices associated with high-performing and sustainable organisations around the world.

Following qualitative investigations establishing parallels between SEP and SL practices, these new approaches to leadership are being examined in a multipronged approach.

First, a quantitative doctoral study of 366 small- and medium-sized Thai firms has revealed a positive link between SL principles and firm performance – on multiple criteria.

As predicted, SL principles are associated with better financial outcomes; and increased customer satisfaction, brand and reputation, long-term investor returns and, importantly, long-term value for multiple stakeholders. The practical implications are immense, because specific SL practices link to each performance outcome.

In a second project, the team is preparing a book of case studies showing how SEP thinking is being embedded into Thai organisations, from agriculture to education, community development and business. This project will demonstrate the successes and challenges of embedding sustainable thinking across multiple institutions.

Thirdly, together with the Institute for Sustainable Leadership, the team regularly participates in large-scale conferences attended by managers and academics alike to publicise these new approaches to leadership and strategic thinking.

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