A Cultural Analysis of Mexico
To help better understand Mexico’s culture, a brief overview of Geert Hofstede’s study of different cultures would be useful. Hofstede’s cultural taxonomy helps in the understanding of cultural differences. Hofstede proposed that people carry mental programs that are developed during their childhood and are reinforced by their culture (Lustig, Koester, 2006, p.114). Through these programs, the ideas of a culture are expressed through its principal values. Hofstede conducted a study of over 100,000 IBM employees in over seventy-one countries in order to identify these principal values in different cultures. After his initial study, he conducted additional research in additional countries not in the IBM sample. Through his study and
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The third of Hofstede’s dimensions is power distance. Power distance refers to a culture’s views on human equality and the extent on how they view inequalities as good or bad, right or wrong, fair or unfair. It also judges how a society believes that power should be distributed and if the power holders should be questioned or challenged. Hofstede created a power distance index (PDI) to assess a culture’s location on the power distance dimension. A high PDI means that a culture prefers a large power distance. Examples of the cultures include Arab countries, Guatemala and Malaysia. A low PDI indicates that a culture prefers a small power distance. There should be less social inequality and you should be able to question authority. Examples low PDI’s include Austria, Denmark and Israel. Mexico has a high PDI score (99) (Lustig, Koester, 2006, p.124). With a warm climate, large population and unequal distribution of wealth, Mexico fits all the criteria of having a high PDI. Those in power are entitled to privileges and it is normal for those who have power to display it (Segrest, 2003, p.13).
Hofstede’s fourth and fifth dimension’s are masculinity versus femininity, and long-term versus short-term orientation to time. The first refers to whether a culture prefers achievement and assertiveness or nurturance and social support. (Lustig, Koester, 2006, p.125). Does a society prefer the acquisition of wealth or caring for others?