The impact of ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professionals on Thai Higher Education Institutions

  • Paranin Jotikasthira

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The policies, initiatives and activities of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have been the subject of numerous analyses in academic literature. Much research focuses on the impact on particular sectors of the economic activities of ASEAN, such as the Free Trade Area and the free movement of skilled labour. However, little research has been developed concerning the impact of the free movement of professionals in Thailand. This research intends to contribute to the understanding of the impact of the implementation of the ASEAN MRA-TP on Thai HEIs as the production agent of Thai human resources. It also emphasises the changing roles and operations of Thai universities when facing the challenge of tourism professional mobility across the ASEAN region.
In this study, Powell and DiMaggio’s (1983) theory of institutional isomorphism has been applied as the lens for understanding the changes in Thai HEIs. Other research, i.e. the work of Joo and Halx (2012), Frumkin and Galaskiewicz (2004), and Caravella (2011), are also applied in order to identify the key actors and to shape the conceptual framework of this research. The findings of the case-based research of three Thai HEIs revealed that Thai HEIs showed homogeneous responses toward the implementation of the ASEAN MRA-TP. Three isomorphic pressures – coercive, mimetic and normative – are found to exist. The findings suggest that the coercive and mimetic pressures serve as the stronger pressures in shaping the homogeneity of Thai HEIs. In the meantime, normative pressures serves as the secondary pressure. There is also an overlap between these three pressures.
One important explanation for the conformity of Thai HEI responses seems to be the feeling of uncertainty around the implementation of the ASEAN MRA-TP in Thailand. The lack of confidence in the Thai government also reduces the importance of the ASEAN MRA-TP in the view of Thai HEIs. There is also a general lack of interest on the part of Thai HEIs in supporting the ASEAN MRA-TP.
Date of Award18 Nov 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorRichard Watermeyer (Supervisor) & Robin Shields (Supervisor)


  • Thai higher education institutions

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