Respect and Power in Mexico vs. Respect and Fair Play in the United States
In describing Mexican business culture, a high power distance culture, Marc J. Erlich, a psychologist who works with U.S. businesses in Mexico, noted:
Within Mexican society, there is a tendency to respect those in power. The boss’s respectability is manifested by maintaining a definite social distance, through an unwillingness to delegate.
Fair play, shared responsibility, and playing by the rules are characteristics of respect for the [North] American. Respect is earned, not given. North of the border, the ability to be one of the team reflects responsibility.
The U.S. executive frequently perceives Mexican submission to authority as a lack of resolve and an unfortunate passivity. The Mexican will typically view the U.S. executive’s insistence on fair play and desire to delegate as an inability to accept the power associated with position.
Source: Based on Erlich, Mark J. 1993. “Making sense of the bicultural workplace.” Business Mexico.August: p.18.