Mexico may receive negative U.S. media attention at times, but its economy is booming and continues to be a growing consumer market for United States exporters (Li, 2012). A U.S. leader will continue to have more and more opportunities across the world with the expanding global economy. Mexico presents many opportunities for U.S. leaders as global supply chains have increased between the United States and there has been a boom in manufacturing along the border (Li, 2012). However, a U.S. leader will not be able to successfully lead in another country and culture without taking the time to understand the differences between cultures with respect to power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism, masculinity, long-term orientation and indulgence.
There are many reasons why a U.S. leader in today’s global economy may have opportunities to benefit from leadership ventures in Mexico. First, the close proximity as well as free trade agreements means that Mexico is a top choice for many U.S.-based businesses to expand their market share (Nicholson, 2014). Another reason why Mexico is a big opportunity for a U.S. leader is that it is one of the top growing market places in the global economy. In 2014, Mexico ranked #16 on Bloomberg’s list of the Top 20 Emerging Markets (Nicholson, 2014). A third reason why a leader in the U.S. may work with Mexico is that Mexico is the U.S.’s third largest trading partner and the second largest goods export market (Nicholson, 2014) which equaled $500 billion in goods and services traded in 2011. From a forward-looking perspective, Mexico’s social media population is the fourth fastest growing and its middle-class increased 17% between the years of 2000 and 2010. These two factors paint a positive picture for solid growth in the huge eCommerce business (Nicholson, 2014).
While Mexico is the United States’ neighbor directly to the south, it has many cultural similarities with Central and South America and a U.S. leader must be aware of several cultural differences in order to be successful in Mexico. A review of Hofstede’s six dimensions of culture with regards to Mexico shows a global leader how to best make a positive impact in this culture. Mexico has a high power distance which means that a leader should not express egalitarian values (Pennsylvania State University, 2018). A high uncertainty avoidance in the culture of Mexico means that rules, laws and processes are a must for a global leader to ensure that unclear or ambiguous situations do not arise (Pennsylvania State University, 2018). Individualism is low in Mexico when compared to the United States and therefore a U.S. leader must be aware that Mexican culture lends to the trend that most workers prefer to work in groups to benefit everyone (Pennsylvania State University, 2018). Masculinity is high which means that a global leader in Mexico define clear roles for men and women. Long-term orientation is below average in Mexico and therefore a global leader should spend time defining clear short-term goals which should roll up to focus on the long-term goals (Pennsylvania State University, 2018). The final cultural dimension is indulgence and Mexico’s culture scores very high in this area. A global leader would benefit from motivating followers through use of parties and celebrations.
Mexico’s economy is growing and there are other factors that lend to an increasingly larger market share opportunity for organizations outside of the country. The United States will continue to seek opportunities in Mexico and therefore leadership will be necessary to deliver results. While Hofstede’s six dimensions of culture and the scores associated with them identify differences between groups and are a culture trend, they are a powerful tool for a global leader to understand those cultural trends and how to lead and interact with followers within that culture. It is important that U.S. leaders take the time to understand these cultural differences should these leadership opportunities arise.
Pennsylvania State University (2018). Leadership in Global Context: OLEAD 410. Lesson 9: Central America and Mexico, Penn State World Campus, The Pennsylvania State University.
Li, H. (2012, February 20). Doing Business in Mexico: Cultural Differences to Watch for. Ibtimes.com. Retrieved from http://www.ibtimes.com/doing-business-mexico-culture-differences-watch-413594.
Nicholson, C. (2014, April 10). Global Marketing Spotlight: Mexico. Lingualinx.com. Retrieved from https://lingualinx.com/blog/global-marketing-spotlight-mexico/.