Unsurprisingly, the US scored high in this dimension, ranking the highest among the 66 countries. The American Dream is predicated on individualism. As a group, Americans aren't afraid to go it alone. Nothing is impossible. "Just Do it."
Mexico leans towards collectivism, ranking #40 on this dimension. Richard D. Lewis in his book, When Cultures Collide: Leading Across Cultures, cites the strong Mexican values of family closeness, group loyalty and family deference.
This dimension represents a preference of "Masculine" virtues (heroism, competitiveness and material reward for success) over "Feminine" virtues (sharing, caring, nurturing, and modesty).
US = 62
Mexico = 69
This is the only dimension of the four where Americans and Mexicans are reading the same playbook. Mexico's Machismo complex is evidenced in its high score in this dimension, #7 out of 66 countries.
A side note to feed your curiosity: According to Hofstede, Sweden is the most feminine country.
This dimension expresses how members feel about uncertainty and ambiguity. Countries with high scores maintain rigid codes of conduct. Behavior in high uncertainty avoidance countries is consistent. People act accordingly. Countries with low scores indicate a more relaxed attitude toward acting differently and thinking "outside the box."
Uncertainty Avoidance Score:
US = 46
Mexico = 82
The US is very comfortable with uncertainty. This seems a natural fit with our high individualism score and our entrepreneurial spirit. Mexico is in the top third of countries regarding uncertainty avoidance. They want things clear, concise and consistent.
Now that we have a better understanding of our cultural differences, here are three solutions - one for each of our cultural dimension gaps - that you can integrate in 2012.
1. Power Distance Index
Mexicans respect authority. They are less likely to speak up about a jobsite issue and "make waves." But you need them to. Ask for their thoughts and then listen. If language is a barrier for you, what percentage of new improvement ideas are you missing out on? As an authority figure, break through the silence by simply saying hello in Spanish.
Try this two syllable introduction:
Mexicans maintain close ties to the country of Mexico. And like Americans, they have a strong affinity to their home state. Get a map of Mexico, hang it on the wall and use thumbtacks to identify where the workers on your job hail from. It will show you respect their collectivist culture, and you'll learn plenty.
3. Uncertainty Avoidance
Imagine working in a job where all the authority figures spoke a different language. Those individuals whose appreciation and recognition matter most to you walk by you everyday and ignore you.
Mexicans on our jobsites live with a lot of uncertainty. You can make key information, like safety, clear and certain by translating more than just the required documents into Spanish. And that doesn't mean using Google Translate.
Shell out a few bucks to have it done right by someone who actually works in construction. Incorrect, ambiguous and often hilarious translations are not going to clear up any uncertainty. Customized posters are one cost-effective way to achieve this.
Improve Cultural IQ - Gain an Edge
To be competitive these days, you need all the advantages you can get. The 2012 jobsite calls for leadership that recognizes cultural differences and isn't tripped up by language barriers.
How are you going to lead differently in 2012? Improving your cultural IQ and acting upon the solutions given here can decrease both your jobsite nuisances and disasters as well as improve communication and interaction within your company and on the jobsite.