What You Need to Know About Business Culture When Manufacturing in Mexico06.29.22
Manufacturing in Mexico requires organizing and aligning several logistical pieces to make operations run smoothly. However, operating in a foreign country also requires an understanding and appreciation for differing cultures to maintain trusting business relationships. Though there are similarities between the U.S. and Mexico when it comes to cultural norms, respecting the differences is what helps to cultivate success.
Honoring Family Values
Strong family values are an area where the U.S. and Mexico align, though U.S. culture often has distinct boundaries separating work life from home. Whereas, Mexico places greater emphasis on intertwining the two. It’s not uncommon for companies to host family events at the workplace or provide benefits such as onsite childcare or financial and time benefits to support spouses and other family members. When structuring compensation packages, it’s important to keep these values in mind as a way to stay competitive when hiring.
Recognition of Religious Holidays
Religious traditions and acknowledgment of religious holidays are often more prominent in Mexico’s business culture. While religious representation in the workplace is often discouraged in the U.S., open religious practices in workplaces in Mexico can play a central role. This may affect how a company distributes paid holidays since there are ones that will differ from what’s typically expected or allowed in the U.S.
Adding Context to Communication
Nonverbal communication is a strong component of Mexico’s business culture. Having consideration of what is being said in addition to how it’s being conveyed is important to maintain a positive relationship. Additionally, taking time for small talk to create rapport builds trust between business partners, a practice much appreciated in Mexico.
Furthermore, traditional business culture in Mexico tends to minimize conflict which means communication is often more indirect than what U.S. businesses may be used to. However, this approach shouldn’t be misconstrued as nonassertive but rather respectful of the established business relationship and will still vary by region and role.
Understanding Perspectives on Time
Optimizing time is an important value in both U.S. and Mexico business culture. However, with the emphasis placed on building trust, it can lead to longer lunch meetings or more casual settings as a way to form a long-term partnership and not limit interaction to work-only matters.
Additionally, it’s important to specify agreed-upon time expectations. Punctuality can mean different things to different people. In Mexico, “on time” may indicate arrival within 15 minutes of the set time, while in the U.S. this “tardiness” can be considered rude and vice-versa. Respect for time requires a balance of leaving room to establish a sense of camaraderie while also accomplishing shared professional goals.
Business culture in any country is complex and involves nuances affected by various societal influences. It’s helpful to learn how to adapt to these differences to create solid, thriving business relationships