A U.S. business owner that is negotiating in an environment with Mexican employees must take into consideration how values differ between cultures and the way that these values influence the way a Mexican employee thinks and reacts. Mexico is high on power distance, low on individualism, high on uncertainty avoidance, and high on masculinity; while the United States is low on power distance, high on individualism, low on uncertainty avoidance, and high on masculinity.
It is important for any company opening up a plant in Mexico, that consideration is taken into account that the workforce will be different, and the people in the workforce often times have different cultural standards and intentions which influence their work ethic. To increase employee determination and effectiveness it is essential to recognize these differences and integrate them into the rules of the workplace. While Mexico and the United States share a common border, the cultural differences between the two are substantial. Mexico has a different history than the US, and therefore different ways of doing and looking at things. In order to help make sense of these distinctions, Professor Geert Hofstede conducted research on cross-cultural groups and organizations, and in doing so, proposed five dimensions. These dimensions include:
1. Power distance (the position and authority differences between superior and subordinate),
2. Uncertainty avoidance (preferences for organized vs. unorganized situations),
3. Individualism vs. collectivism (defining oneself as an individual rather than a member of a group),
4. Masculinity vs. femininity (competitive, success-driven values vs. quality of life, relationship-oriented values in society),
5. Time orientation, (emphasizing long-term values s vs. short-term values). (Denisi & Griffin, 2017).
Mexico is a country that has a high power differential, where workers tend to be more collective than individualistic (low IDV); in other words, they are interdependent upon each other and work well in groups. The Mexican culture is highly masculine (MAS), where men generally hold higher status roles than women in society and government, as they are a society that is generally very competitive and assertive. Lastly, the Mexican culture is one that likes to avoid change, and minimizing the possibility of uncertainty by enacting strict laws and rules (High UAI). In contrast to Mexico, the United States has a low power distance, indicating a greater equality and cooperation between levels in society, including government, organizations, and families. With the moving toward having more female power being accepted in the US, explains why there is a lower-than-average Uncertainty Avoidance, as our society has fewer rules than Mexico, and does not try to control all aspects of society, as we are generally more tolerant of others’ ideas, thoughts, and beliefs.
Tactics promoting equality, employee involvement in decision making, open communication channels and employee ownership are not considered necessary or desirable for gaining a competitive advantage in Mexico. Therefore, given that Mexican society is high in power distance, it would be suggested that U.S. companies that use such practices should modify them in working with the Mexican culture. This means, that it is unnecessary for senior Mexican management to involve employees in decision-making. With Mexico being a high power distance culture, employees rely on a strong hierarchical structure, with those in power demonstrating care and concern for their subordinates. Individualism has become a defining characteristic of American society. Not so much in Mexico, the degree to which individual decision-making is valued is much lower. It is important for HR professionals to recruit more actively, more diligently, and more creatively. Additionally, it is important to screen individuals for their actual experience and abilities, and not their executive status. Because the company is wishing to expand on a global scale, employing someone with international education and work experience should be considered. An expat manager should be accustomed to thinking differently, as they adapt to their new environment. They should have experience working in various countries, with the ability to interact with people from other backgrounds. They must be flexible, highly motivated, and have the ability to work as individual contributors or in a team. Professionals who decide to work in a new country are prepared and willing to make numerous adjustments in both their everyday living and at work. They are aware that they need to work with people whose ideas, beliefs, and thoughts are not necessarily the same as theirs.