Cultural Differences between Mexico, the USA and Canada
Although the three countries that make up North America are physically close, Mexico is simply a different country than her northern neighbors. Mexico has a different history and a different culture. Mexicans have their own ways of doing and looking at things. Each Mexican's beliefs, expectations and codes of personal and social conduct are so different as to be from a different world. Of course, from their perspective, you are from a different world.
To successfully interact with a Mexican, it is necessary to enter the world of the Mexican, and be aware of the fact that your assumptions about how things are done, often are not true. The following comparison table provides a summary of major cultural differences.
||Family is the first priority. |
Children are celebrated and sheltered.
Wife fulfills domestic role.
Mobility is limited.
|Family is usually second to work. |
Children often minimally parented; are independent.
Wife often fulfills dual roles.
Mobility quite common.
||Long Roman Catholic tradition. |
Fatalistic outlook. "As God wills."
|Mixed religions. |
"Master of own life" outlook.
Emphasis on theoretical.
Rigid, broad curriculum.
|Analytical approach. |
Emphasis on the practical.
Narrow, in-depth specialization.
||Very nationalistic. |
Proud of long history and traditions.
Reluctant to settle outside Mexico.
Proud of "American way of life."
Assumes everyone shares his/her materialistic values.
(Canadian) Less than U.S.. Often has more " World" view.
||Difficulty separating work and personal relationships. |
Sensitive to differences of opinion.
Fears loss of face, especially publicly.
|Separates work from emotions/personal relationships. |
Sensitivity seen as weakness.
Tough business front.
Has difficulty with subtlety.
||"Old world" formality. |
Etiquette and manners seen as measure of breeding.
sacrificed for efficiency. |
"Let's get to the point" approach.
||Dress and grooming are status symbols.||Appearance is secondary to performance.|
||Title and position more important than money in eyes of society.||Money is main status measure and is reward for achievement.|
||Aesthetic side of life is important even at work.||No time for "useless frills".|
||Truth is tempered by need for diplomacy. |
Truth is a relative concept.
|Direct Yes/No answers given and expected. |
Truth seen as absolute value.
The comparisons are reproduced from Management in Two Cultures - Bridging the gap between US and Mexico, by Eva Kras, 1996-2006 , with permission from Intercultural Press Inc., a company specializing in Cultural publications
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