A snapshot of Mexican Business Culture

From Cross-cultural communication to Business Culture

We do not only need to be aware of cross-cultural communication, but we also need to be aware of business culture. It is not only about different kinds of business etiquette, this term refers to norms, values and beliefs that pertain to all aspects of doing business in a culture. Business culture has a big influence on internal operations and business decisions. It tells people the correct or acceptable way to make business in a society.

As there are many different regions with many different languages there are also many kinds of business culture; and as I referred to the Whorf hypothesis: The language determines the nature of culture.

So I thought it might be a good fit to go on in the field I have chosen and also to connect it with business.

Business culture could also be seen as a reflection of national culture, because in any society, business is closely connected with the broader values, norms and beliefs of the culture. Examples for this could be the behavior towards elderly people or the equality of women in business. For the last of the two examples it would be worth writing about vertical and horizontal segregation as this is a very important aspect of gender equality, so this might be the topic of my next post, but for this one I have some more aspects to write about here.

Another concern of business culture could be the expected behaviour of managers towards their co-workers.

Business culture influences actually all issues about work and organizational life like for instance the selection or promotion of employees but also the way employees are lead and motivated as well as strategic and negotiation issues.

Relationships may be more important than skills

As all the information I gave you above might sound rather theoretical I chose to take a closer look at a country and for this I have chosen to take a look at Mexican Business culture. In General most of the Mexican businesses are rather small and they are often family businesses, even the larger businesses have emerged out of small family businesses with a rather traditional pattern. So you might consider Fernando as the superior of a business and if one of his relatives needs a job, he might prefer giving the job to this person rather than to any other person, because of the trust he has in this person. Of course the education of a candidate also plays a role. Organisations in Mexico are rather hierarchical in other words power is executed by top management. A negative point of this is that the structure of the organization is that it has many levels of management which could be the reason for slow decision-making processes. To avoid this it is important for a foreign organization to build up trust with the Mexican organisation to make the decision processes go on faster. If there trust is not yet built one should not be too impatient and one should not make too fast decisions with the Mexican firm because this would also stop the process of building trust. As Mexican organisations are rather traditional it is often regarded as a high priority to be very sensitive towards the needs of work colleagues and to keep good relationships. For them an ideal workplace is free of excessive stress which normally comes from competition and conflicts. Of course it cannot be generalized all over the Mexican businesses.
If you are interested in Mexican business you can read more in this blog here


5 responses to “A snapshot of Mexican Business Culture

  1. Hi Johanna,
    when I read the headline of your post on the front page of “Blog or die tryin” I immediately had to take a closer look on it because I was very interested in what you meant by “business culture”, because I have never heard this term before and even more I wanted to know what Mexico has to do with it since Mexico isn’t a quite developed country and I wanted to know how that fits together. I think you structured you text very well starting with explaining what business culture is and then explained it more detailed by taking Mexico as an example. That is a great start but I wished you would have gone more into detail with your Mexico example maybe by mentioning some companies operating in Mexico because the topic you chose is very interesting and it’s worth knowing more about it. But other than that great job!

  2. Hey janastaub,

    I think you are absolutely right! Nowadays, people often think the way how we communicate is the most important tool in order to make business on a cross cultural basis but often what is also important ins the overall business culture.

    History has shown that even experienced huge organizations often fail in a different setting. For Europe Wal-Mart might be an extraordinary role model especially in Germany when they were not able to understand German consumerism and simply referred to the data they had from their US chain. Another example would be Disney in the 90ies when they try to open up the Disney Land in Paris based on the assumptions and experiences they had from the US version of this adventure land.

    I think that your post is very valuable, because we often hear from the US or the European market but how other countries especially in South-America are doing business is most of the time a really rare case.

    Furthermore, I want to give you a hint. I think it might be very delightful if you offer your reader a possibility to dig deeper into the topic. For this purpose link-building might be a very powerful tool. Moreover, you give your reader the opportunity to follow one specific thought when you place these links within your article.

    But what do you think about that?

  3. Hey janastaub!
    I really love your blog posts. All are about a similar topic: culture in different businesses in different countries. Very interesting, especially for us as business students. It´s good to know about those communication rules and behavior. You´re right, it would be too much if you informed us about those differences in general; and at least somehow boring. But you made this very exciting because you have chosen a certain country: Mexico. I think that this is a very good choice because the business culture there is very different in comparison with the German one. Of course, relationships are also important if you work in Germany, but I think they are not as important as in Mexico. This is good to know because I plan to do an internship there to get to know another culture.
    Next time, it would be better if you inform us about other countries as well, for example business culture in the US, Asia or Russia. I guess that they are also somehow different from the German business and interesting to know.

  4. Pingback: Retrospect #4 : Slowing it down | BLOG OR DIE TRYIN'·

  5. Hi Johanna,
    When I realized that you choosed to dig deeper into “cross-cultural-communications” I was really delighted, as I think the post on that matter was your strongest. Morover I am also really intersted in that topic and enjoy reading about it.
    Plus I loved that you wrote more about the cross-cultural-communication in business this time, as this was the aspect I missed in your last post.
    Did you think about “WBS” when writing about vertical and horizontal segregations as an important aspect of gender equality? I had to smile when reading this paragraph, as I had to think about our last WBS lecture about gender equality. This shows that you think interdisciplinary – great!
    It is fanastic that you underline your theoretical assumptions with an example in the end.
    But it is really a pitty that your post looses quality as you don´t give any quotes – you just give a hint for another blogpost in the end. I think this is really not enough at our stage.
    I also have to admit that I struggled to read the last paragraph given that you didn´t use passages.
    To make your post more lively some more pictures would have been really nice. As well I would love to hear your own opinion.
    Anyway all in all I enjoyed to read your post. 😉

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