Competition, Flexibility, and Industrial Ascent: The Thai Auto Industry

  • Frederic C. Deyo
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


Late twentieth-century global industrial restructuring poses new challenges to developing countries seeking upward mobility in the global economy. This is particularly true of middle-income countries where rising labor costs are no longer competitive in global markets as lower-cost producers like Indonesia and China enter export markets. The developmental imperative for semi-industrial countries such as these is to restructure into higher-value-added market niches where competitiveness derives as much from process efficiences, product flexibility and quality as from low labor costs. The relative stability of country rankings in the international division of labor may in part be understood as a consequence of the difficulty in realizing this imperative.


Trade Liberalization Contract Labor Auto Industry Human Resource Practice Flexible Production 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Amsden, Alice (1989) Asia’s New Giant: South Korea and Late Industrialization (New York: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  2. Arom Pongpa-ngan Foundation (APF) (1991) ‘Temporary Employment After the Ministry of Interior Decree No. 11’ (Bangkok: APF). (in Thai).Google Scholar
  3. Arom Pongpa-ngan Foundation (APF) (1988) ‘Labour Relations Strategies and Short-Term Employment’, manuscript (Bangkok: APF).Google Scholar
  4. Asia Week, published in Hong Kong.Google Scholar
  5. Bank of Thailand (1992) Quarterly Bulletin, 32 (1) (March) p. 23.Google Scholar
  6. Bangkok Post (various issues), published in Bangkok, Thailand.Google Scholar
  7. Brown, Andrew and Steve Frenkel (1993) ‘Union Unevenness and Insecurity in Thailand’, in S. Frenkel (ed.), Organized Labour in the Asia—Pacific Region: A Comparative Analysis of Trade Unionism in Nine Countries (Ithaca: ILR Press).Google Scholar
  8. Charsombut, Pradit (1990) Provincial Industry Labor Market (Bangkok: Thailand Development Research Institute Foundation).Google Scholar
  9. Deyo, Frederic (1989) Beneath the Miracle: Labor Subordination in the New Asian Industrialism (Berkeley: University of California Press).Google Scholar
  10. Doner, Richard (1991) Driving a Bargain: Automobile Industrialization and Japanese Firms in Southeast Asia (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press).Google Scholar
  11. The Economist, November 1991: 18 (London).Google Scholar
  12. Far Eastern Economic Review (1994) Asia 1994 Yearbook, 35th edn.Google Scholar
  13. Hill, Richard Child and Yong Joo Lee (forthcoming), in Leslie Sklair (ed.), Capitalism and Development (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  14. Hoffman, Kurt and Raphael Kaplinsky (1988) Driving Force: The Global Restructuring of Technology, Labour, and Investment in the Automobile and Components Industries (Boulder, CO: Westview Press).Google Scholar
  15. Kochan, Thomas A. and Harry C. Katz (1988) Collective Bargaining and Industrial Relations: From Theory to Practice (Homewood, Ill: Irwin).Google Scholar
  16. Labour Department, Thailand (1991) Yearbook of Labour Statistics, 1990.Google Scholar
  17. The Nation (various issues), published in Bangkok, Thailand.Google Scholar
  18. Piriyarangsan, Sangsit and Kanchada Poonpanich (1992) ‘Labour Institutions in an Export-Oriented Country: A Case Study of Thailand’. Paper presented at the International Workshop on Labour Institutions and Economic Development in Asia, Bali, Indonesia, 4–6 Feb.Google Scholar
  19. Poonpanich, Kanchada (1991) ‘Employment Promotion and Workers’ Participation’, cited in Piriyarangsan and Poonpanich.Google Scholar
  20. Portes, Alejandro and Richard Schauffler (1993) ‘Competing Perspectives on the Latin American Informal Sector’, Population and Development Review, 19 (1) (March) pp. 33–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Samakkhitham, Somsak (1990) ‘Economic Life of Low-Level Workers’, (Bangkok: Arom Pongpa-ngan Foundation) (in Thai).Google Scholar
  22. Satitniramai, Apichat (1992) ‘The Formation of Labor Movements in [the] Textile Industry’. Master’s Thesis, Economics, Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand.Google Scholar
  23. Siengthai, Sununta (1988) ‘Thai-Hino Industry Co., Ltd’, International Labour Office Case Studies in Labour—Management Cooperation for Productivity Improvement (Bangkok: ILO) pp. 265–308.Google Scholar
  24. Standing, Guy (1989) ‘The Growth of External Labour Flexibility in a Nascent NIC: Malaysian Labour Flexibility Survey (MLFS)’. World Employment Programme Research Working Paper No. 35 (November).Google Scholar
  25. Streeck, Wolfgang (1991) ‘On the Institutional Conditions of Diversified Quality Production’, in Egon Matzner and Wolfgang Streeck (eds), Beyond Keynesianism: The Socio-Economies of Production and Full Employment (Brookfield, VT Edward Elgar).Google Scholar
  26. Sussangkarn, Chalongphob (1990) ‘Labour Markets in an Era of Adjustment: A Study of Thailand’. Thailand Development Research Institute Foundation, Bangkok.Google Scholar
  27. Thailand Development Research Institute (1992) ‘Managing the Urban Informal Sector in Thailand: A Search for Practical Policies Based on the Basic Minimum Needs Approach’. Bangkok.Google Scholar
  28. Turner, Lowell (1991) Democracy at Work: Changing World Markets and the Future of Labor Unions (Ithaca: Cornell University Press).Google Scholar
  29. Wall Street Journal (various issues), New York.Google Scholar
  30. Womack, James, P., Daniel T. Jones and Daniel Roos (1990) The Machine that Changed the World (New York: Rawson Associates).Google Scholar
  31. Yosamornsunton, Amphan (1986) ‘Wages and Working Conditions in the Garment Industry’. Master’s Thesis, Economics, Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand.Google Scholar
  32. Zuesongham, Sakool and Voravidh Charoenloet (1993) ‘Fragmentation of the Trade Unions: Inevitably or Not?’ Paper presented at a conference organized by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (foundation) on ‘NICs in Asia: A Challenge to Trade Unions’, Singapore, 30 March-1 April.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Frederic C. Deyo 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederic C. Deyo

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations