Mexican Culture – Group Oriented Thinking

October 24, 2012

Today, I want to tell you what I’ve learned about how Mexican culture deals with work.

A very incorrect stereotype is that Mexicans are lazy. Wrong!
Mexican people are some of the hardest working people on the planet. I’ve lived among them now for over a decade and I’ve yet to meet a lazy Mexican.
So, the symbol of the Mexican guy head down leaning/sleeping
against a cactus is not correctly interpreted as being lazy, but
correctly symbolizes to me the idea that in the scorching afternoon heat of the desert that taking a nap is a sign of intelligence, and not laziness.
Mexican people usually prefer to work as a team. This begins at an early age at home where the entire family works as a team to get the chores done and contribute to the overall family welfare. 
Team sports are very important because the group is very important. Each person plays his part in the group success.
Americans talk about team work, but it’s much more difficult for us to really work well as a team because we’re so much more individualistic. I admit to being guilty of being extremely individualistic. I think most of us begin to be taught the value of working together in sports activities in school and later for many in military service.
Groups in Mexico are very competitive with other groups (as in the various soccer teams), but not so much within each group. Mexican people really identify with the group.
A Mexican worker is very non confrontational with his boss. That’s because the boss is in another group, the manager group. 
And, a Mexican worker who tries to “suck up” to the boss will be punished by the rest of the group more so than in North America.
The workers identify with the company they work for as their group and gladly wear shirts and caps with the company logo wearing them as symbols of the group.
The companies help sponsor employee sport teams and employees and the employee unions work together to lobby the government, which is seen as another group.
So, compared to North Americans, as you can see from the above examples Mexicans in general are “very group oriented”.You can put your new cultural knowledge to good use once you live here at Lake Chapala by being more “group oriented” in your thinking.
Savvy contractors here for example know that a group (team) of about 8 to 10 workers is the optimum size for building a house. 
All for now, Siempre tu amigo, Sid
  • Mary Jacobs

    Sid,  I love this. You are exactly right. Since my husband and I arrived in March, 2012, we have been amazed at the work ethic of the Mexican people. The US does not know what it is missing. The people are hard working, family oriented, beautiful people and very friendly. 
    I think the reason Alabama ran the Mexican people out of the state was because they worked harder than the Americans and made them look bad. 

    We love it here and plan to stay forever. Are you familiar with the phrase “feel the love”? We feel it every day from the people here, something that we did not feel back in Alabama. And all it takes is a smile or a wave. 
    Mary Jacobs

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