The Cross-Cultural Issues Between Mexico and India

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Table of Contents

  • Comparison of Hofstede's Dimensions
  • Business Etiquettes
  • Effective Communication
  • Negotiations
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership Style
  • Unique expatriation and HRM issues associated with the country.
  • MNC of target country (Cinepolis India Pvt. Ltd., Mexico)
  • Recommendations
  • Organizational Design
  • Don’ts at Mexican Work place
  • Cultural Nuances - Mexican influence in firms’ work culture

Our team has identified the cross-cultural issues between Mexico and our country through primary and secondary research. We have decided to go forward with Cinepolis MNC that has subsidiary in our home country and will also be discussing a few interesting aspects of the subsidiary.

We conducted interview of one of the managers of Mexican automobile company Continental. Mr. Roberto Castro Cortes has had 19 years of industry work experience and has been born and brought up in Mexico. The interview gave us insights on the work culture of Mexico. The insights have also been incorporated.

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Comparison of Hofstede’s Dimensions

As per Hofstede insights, both Mexico and India are high PDI countries. The subordinates expect the boss to tell them what to do and the boss is thus, seen as a benevolent autocrat. Mexicans are collectivistic people. They belong to in-groups. Loyalty and commitment to the family, extended family and relationships are considered to be of paramount importance. Indians show traits of both individualism and collectivism. Both the countries are high on the masculinity dimension. The focus is on success and achievement.

Speaking about differences between the two countries, Mexicans have a very high preference towards avoiding uncertainties as compared to Indians. They have strict rules and rigid codes of belief and behavior. Mexicans are short-term oriented people and are highly indulgent. They love to stay in the present and enjoy the moment. Their thinking is normative and have great respect for their traditions as can be seen through their dance, music and festivals. The characteristic of indulgence makes the people of Mexico give high importance to leisure time whereas Indians try controlling gratification of their desires.

Business Etiquettes

  1. Business Meetings: Mexicans prefer meetings in person and not over phone or email. The office timings in Mexico is mostly between 9 am to 7 pm. They feel uneasy with the meetings then the chances of closing a deal is very less. Mexican counterparts need to be asked about their family, customs etc. Being direct during meetings may be seen as rude. Meetings are slow paced and may go off topic most of the times. Big decisions are left to be made by top management and they want people of similar hierarchy to do business with them. Mexicans can be late for the meeting but the other party should be punctual. Business cards are a memorable way of leaving contact information in Mexico with the prospective clients.
  2. Names and Titles: During the initial visits, it is advisable to address using the title and the first surname instead of using their first name. In the absence of a title, address them as Señor /a and their first surname.
  3. Body Language: Handshakes should be for a longer time. Hands on the hips while standing is considered rude. When meeting a woman during business, it is considered appropriate to give a slight bow and shake hands if she initiates it.
  4. Meals during Meetings: Breakfast tends to be more productive for business meetings. Mexican business lunch has less of business talk and more of casual. Moreover, business talks are not preferred during dinner.
  5. What to wear :Dark suits are preferred during meetings. Men should wear ties along with it. Women should be in formal business attire. Jeans are seen as inappropriate and low-cut t-shirts and tight skirts are also to be avoided. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed.

Effective Communication

Mexicans prefer less explicit verbal messages through indirect communication. A ‘No’ is often disguised with ‘We’ll see’ or ‘Maybe’ to avoid offending the receiver. It is usually treated rude if there is large physical distance between two persons while speaking.


Business negotiations proceed slowly as they focus on cementing the relationship first. Being high on PDI, the decision-taking steps are quite hierarchical, yet another reason for the final decision being delayed. The focus should be on building long term relationships that are stable as Mexicans value relationships more than anything. Negotiation is seen as a way to build trust.


Mexican culture follows a quicker adaptation to teamwork as compared other cultures such as of USA. Mexicans in teams care a lot about each other and have tendency help others in trouble with a real team spirit. It has been contended that Mexicans even after belonging to a high PDI society tend to open up to their seniors who are in trouble. Thus, it can be assumed that one of greatest strength of Mexicans is their teamwork. Quite a few companies in Mexico has achieved considerable success through the self-directed team structure. For instance, General Motors (GM) has one of its plant in Ramos Arispe, Mexico famous for setting world record in meeting quality standards. The fact that GM achieved the highest quality and workforce flexibility through the use of work teams proves the extent of teamwork skills in Mexican workforce. The same has been achieved in other GM plants as well.

Leadership Style

As per GLOBE empirical study, Mexico scores high on value based and team oriented based leadership style. An authoritative but a caring leadership is preferred as Mexican culture favors hierarchy and high context. Moreover, a team-oriented mind-set of leaders is more effective in Mexico. This is also validated as Mexico score very high (5.88) in team-orientation dimension. Workers loyalty is gained through establishing deep bonds with them. However, leadership style of top level managers is usually favored by mid-level managers as well which is supported by the fact that Mexico has a high PDI culture.

Unique expatriation and HRM issues associated with the country.

Companies hire by recruiting employees’ family members or friends who are looking for jobs; this need is motivated by the fact that the latter are more reliable than unfamiliar applicants. Otherwise, it is also common for manufacturing companies to post signs outside the facility announcing job openings. Coming back to the family, for Mexicans it has a key role in their way of understanding the job. If a Mexican worker has to move, the move involve both the close family and the large family such as aunts, uncles and parents. Moreover, public criticism can make an employee leave the company, as individual’s public image is very important. Mexicans don’t put too much emphasis on collaborative or bottom-up decision, in fact if a manager asks for advices or hints to his subordinates, they may assume that he doesn’t know what he is doing. Mexicans are more loyal to their superiors than to the company.

In order to earn trust from their workers companies usually put into practice a system of reward based on stock options, guarantee pay (as they appreciate more stable and certain situations), family days, benefits, bonuses and extras. These are all elements that can make a Mexican choose a company or make him stay. Training for foreign employees or for Mexican workers that go abroad has resulted to be important and to solve many of cultural issues. It has been proven that help to overcome such differences, to increase commitment, satisfaction and reduce turnover among employees.

MNC of target country (Cinepolis India Pvt. Ltd., Mexico)

Cinépolis is a Mexican chain of movie theatres. Cinépolis, founded in 1971 and headquartered in Morelia, Mexico, is the world’s 2nd largest movie theatre circuit, operating over 5300 screens across 14 countries and serving more than 330 million patrons annually.

Cinépolis India Pvt. Ltd., operates a chain of multiplexes in India, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cinépolis de México, S.A. de C.V. Cinépolis, Cinépolis VIP, and Fun Cinemas are brand names under which it operates 339 screens in India. Cinépolis operates India’s biggest Megaplex – 15 Screen Multiplex in Pune. The company was incorporated in 2007 and is based in Gurgaon, India. It has operations in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Patna, Pune, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Surat, Jaipur, Bhopal, Thane, Vijayawada, Vadodara, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Bhatinda, Ambala, Panipat, Gwalior, Coimbatore, Khanna, Dibrugarh, Ghaziabad, Mangalore, Hubli, Kota, Ghaziabad, Ranchi, and Guwahati.

Home-country nationals hold all the top positions and all of them are males.Directors of Cinepolis India Private Limited are Rodrigo Eugenio Perez Morales, Mauricio Vaca Tavera, Javier Sotomayor De Zavaleta, Miguel Mier Esparza, Alejandro Ramirez Magana, Jorge Pablo Aguilar Albo, Arturo Lopez Martin.Javier Sotomayor De Zavaleta has been a Director of Cinepolis India Pvt. Ltd. since February 26, 2008. Sotomayor has been with Cinépolis for over 12 years and has worked in Mexico, Central America and India. He was appointed Managing Director of Cinépolis India in January 2013 and has been on its board since 2008. He was part of the initial team of Cinépolis India, and its CEO from October 2007 to December 2009.


We suggest the below recommendations to ensure our success with this new venture:

  1. Build few self-driven teams and look out for natural leaders coming out of these groups. Since Mexican workers aspire for affiliation, management should appreciate these identified leaders and relocate them into other self-driven work teams.
  2. Mexican workforce award loyalty to those firms who care for them like a family. Thus, supervisors and executives have to be sensitized about supporting the vulnerable workers especially those who are new employees. Moreover, an active response system to employee grievances has to build and checked regularly by the management.
  3. Since Mexico is a high context culture, facilitating employees to meet with each other families are crucial for smooth operations and establishing an environment of extended family. Human resource management of SI need to take this actively. They can organize few periodic events and invite families of employees and managers to participate in them.
  4. SI needs to consider building collaborative relationship with Mexican business partners rather than transactional ones. Either suppliers or any other 3rd party organizations need to be dealt with first building a strong and friendly rapport with them and then establishing fair negotiations. Wherever possible, a long-term relationship should be prioritizing over just a transactional one.
  5. It is important to establish clear and steep hierarchy with role clarity as effective leadership is critical for Mexican organizations to achieve objectives. Mexicans are not self-driven and have tendency to procrastinate, hence strict performance management and supervision is key for attaining company goals.
  6. Mexican employees expect clarity in their daily tasks and prioritize daily targets than understanding the bigger picture or deliverables/outcomes for a month later. Hence, clear short deliverables must be stated for better productivity.
  7. An interpreter needs to be hired for establishing initial communications with business partners.
  8. Culture sensitization workshops need to be organized for Mexicans as well as Indians during the initial phases of operations setup. This will facilitate easier interactions and reduce misunderstandings/conflicts arising due to cultural differences.

Organizational Design

Though different companies’ local or MNC’s have different operational or leadership styles, most Mexican companies’ organizational design are largely hierarchical. For instance, Continental when newly established in Mexico had a flat hierarchy, over the years it has changed into a steep one. The firm has adjusted to the Mexican way of strict hierarchy. Now, the corporate ladder in the firm looks like – Director, Functional Heads, Department Heads, Managers, Team Leads, Engineers. In terms of communication across hierarchical levels, though one can approach anyone as required, it is believed to be a good practice to always approach one’s immediate supervisor or ensure that the immediate supervisor is in loop for any escalations. In Continental, though there is an open-door policy for managers, where anyone can approach anyone, it is recommended to respect hierarchy.

Don’ts at Mexican Work place

There are standard HR policies against corruption (which is a very sensitive issue in Mexico), sexual harassment etc. and it is advised to be thorough with rules and repercussions. While meeting top-level executives, it is advised to send people of equal or higher status from your company otherwise those receiving them might feel offended.

Cultural Nuances – Mexican influence in firms’ work culture

The firms operating in Mexico are not immune to the local culture. For example, in Mexican offices, every birthday is celebrated with pomp and show, even at the work place. In Continental, every employee’s birthday is celebrated by the entire team gathering together in the middle of work to cut cake and exchange wishes. It is a happy place and special occasions are celebrated.

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