More Comments about Cultural Awareness and doing business in Mexico

In our previous postings we have outlined three major areas of concern for the business person seeking success in their ventures, seeking profitability and productivity.  This means working with people, understanding the system and adapting without losing sight of corporate and personal values.  We remain focused on the idea of cultural awareness and why it is important for business in this post before turning to discussions about rules, law, and decision-making that affects people and their performance.

Let’s start with what would be the business and human resources assumptions of your average business person from the United States.  Then let’s compare/contrast with those of a “typical Mexican investor/manager.

This exercise can be expressed as a series of questions generally made about any enterprise and the role of the individual in it:

  • What is the role of work in a person’s life, beyond dollars and cents?
  • What are the duties and obligations of the business to the employee?
  • In turn, what are the duties and obligations of the employee to the business?
  • What is considered to be the wise and humane use of society’s or the culture’s human resources?
  • Are decision-makers technically competent and well-informed?
  • What is the role of specialized governmental agencies in the employment relationship?
  • What are the duties and obligations/limitations of specialized government agencies to the business and to the employee?
  • Are there prevalent industry-specific practices and policies?

The point of these questions is open the mind-set of the decision-maker to the possibility that things said and done without preparation can affect the quality and the success of your project.  Cultural awareness means thinking through and responding to the cognitive and values “map” of your cross-cultural partner.  This in turn means study of the foreign culture and affect on personalities and having a way to compare and contrast the US and Mexican labor relations systems; this is the subject of the next post.