Mexican Culture

Business Culture

Meetings

  • When arranging a meeting, it is normal to confirm the date and appointment several times in advance. Doing so conveys your eagerness to meet.
  • Arrive on time to give a good impression. However, be aware that your Mexican counterpart may not be as punctual. Start and finishing times are usually set as estimates.
  • Allow some time for small talk to precede any serious discussion of business. If it is the first time parties have met, this initial acquaintance may consume the whole meeting.
  • Meetings may not always follow the proposed agenda systematically. The outline of the meeting usually serves as a rough guideline while topics and issues may be addressed as they are mentioned.
  • People may become quite passionate and emotional during meetings. Foreigners can perceive this as unprofessional. However, consider that emotional investment is normal in Mexico. It is thought to convey commitment and interest.
  • Some people may interrupt the meeting and it is common for smaller conversations to erupt while other people are talking.
  • Understand that negotiations can proceed slowly as people look to cement personal relationships first.

 

Relationship Oriented

Personal relationships play a large role in Mexican business culture. Family networks are often key to business success in Mexico. Third-party introductions can be helpful, as Mexicans prefer to work with those whom they know and trust. It is also preferred that people meet face-to-face as often as possible – this deepens the personal relationship between partners. Verbal agreements are generally adhered to on the basis of trust. Breaking them can jeopardise business relationships.

 

Consider that networking is not done idly in Mexican culture since personal contacts can be crucial to success; therefore, Mexicans invest much time and effort into their relationships and getting to know those whom they work with. Mexicans will most likely be eager to know you and may ask many questions about your family and personal life.

 

In order to deepen a relationship, try to be as talkative and transparent with them as possible. Personalise every proposal by explaining how it will benefit Mexico, the community, family and the Mexican representative personally. Your charisma can have a large influence on whether they like or trust you or not. Ultimately, the impression you leave can have a huge impact on the decisions a Mexican makes and may even override business objectives. They may ignore empirical evidence on the basis of a feeling. For example, if you have a great offer for them but they don’t like your attitude, they may pass on the offer.

 

Considerations

  • Generally speaking, Mexicans have an incredible work ethic. However, their reluctance to directly say “no” means there can be some misunderstandings about timeframes and deadlines.
  • Mexicans are quite status conscious. Therefore, you should book engagements in settings that are reflective of one’s position and status. For example, meet high-level representatives in first class hotels and restaurants.
  • Mexicans have a strong work ethic. According to data from the OECD, Mexico has the longest average working weeks (41.2 hours). This work ethic is largely driven by necessity, but does not always translate into high productivity.1
  • Do not address someone by their first name until they have invited you to do so.
  • Mexicans prefer face-to-face communication. If this option is not available, they generally are more likely to discuss issues over the phone rather than by email. To mediate this balance, try and call as frequently as possible whilst following up conversations with emails summarising the main points.
  • Mexican decision-making procedures are quite hierarchical. Therefore, be aware that representatives of a lower status may be unable to make large promises on the spot.
  • Mexicans are generally flexible with the amount of time it takes to make important decisions. Sometimes it is better to resist voicing quick decisions to avoid appearing too hasty.
  • Try and present yourself as personably as possible. Mexicans tend to warm to working with individuals rather than ‘representatives’ of businesses.
  • Verbal agreements are generally adhered to on the basis of trust. Breaking them can jeopardise business relationships. Nevertheless, you should seek to get a written confirmation of any agreement or commitment to ensure the promise is followed through.
  • On the Corruption Perception Index (2017), Mexico is ranked 135th out of 180 countries, receiving a score of 29 (on a scale from 0 to 100). This perception suggests that the country’s public sector has a relatively high level of corruption.

 

_____________________

1 OECD, 2018
Incluude

A unified, searchable interface answering your questions on the world’s cultures and religions.

Inclusion Program

Inclusion logo

Join over 450 organisations already creating a better workplace

Find out more
Download this Cultural Profile

Too busy to read it right now?

You can download this cultural profile in an easy-to-read PDF format that can be printed out and accessed at any time.