Study Finds Narrowed Cultural Gap With Mexico

Sep 23, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The cultural divide that has existed between the U.S. and Mexico is slowly diminishing, research by a UT Dallas professor finds.

The study, co-authored by School of Management faculty member Dr. Habte Woldu, reveals that the cultural differences between the two nations as a whole have remained unchanged. However, when controlling for age, gender, education and occupation, the research indicates that younger, more educated, professional Mexicans demonstrate more cultural assimilation with the U.S. cultural value system.

These findings could have important implications for international managers designing human resource and cross-cultural management strategies, Woldu said. The study could also enhance communication and understanding of the two cultures, he said.

Woldu’s study, “Is the Mexican Culture Becoming Similar to that of United States in Post-NAFTA Era? Viewing Both Cultures through Four Cultural Dimensions,” won a best paper award at a recent International Academy of Business and Public Administration Disciplines conference held in Dallas.

Unlike most cultural research works, which deal mainly with static cross-cultural differences, this paper explores changes within a country. Researchers measured based on key cultural dimensions.

To acquire the data, Woldu and co-author Agnieszka Skuza, a professor at the Poznan University of Economics in Poland, surveyed more than 1,100 people from the U.S., Argentina and Mexico. They conducted the surveys in the early ’90s - before the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S., Mexico and Canada was established - and again in 2008.

Researchers found that young, educated, career-focused individuals from both sides of the border have grown more similar culturally. “When we looked at it even closer, we compared not only a manager, but a manager who was young living in Mexico with a young manager in the U.S., and we saw no significant differences between the two of them,” Woldu said.

A professor of international management studies in the School of Management, Woldu specializes in the dynamics of cultural change in emerging economies. He has conducted similar research in Africa, India and Eastern Europe.

“The story to tell from this work is that nations keep their own cultural identity at large, but a specific group of people are changing as the global economy influences other nations through education and technology, and that population will continue to grow,” Woldu said.

Woldu believes this study was needed because of ’s emerging status as an international player and its proximity to the United States. International relations between the U.S. and its southern neighbor will be more important in the next 10 to 15 years when the U.S. is likely to rely more heavily on Latin American employees as the flow of manpower from China and India loses pace, he said.

“Those nations in the next 15 years will be economic leaders and be preoccupied with their own economic expansion, so will need more manpower to sustain their economic growth,” Woldu said. “China is a 2 plus 1 - two parents and one child - demographic model, and with an aging population and few working-age Chinese, that model plus the anticipated economic growth will demand that China and India retain their working populations.”

Provided by UT Dallas

Explore further: Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

White male fearlessness is explained

Oct 31, 2007

A U.S. study suggests the relative fearlessness of some white males is due to their cultural identity, and its influence on their appraisal of risks.

Nanotechnology 'culture war' possible, study says

Dec 07, 2008

Rather than infer that nanotechnology is safe, members of the public who learn about this novel science tend to become sharply polarized along cultural lines, according to a study conducted by the Cultural ...

Recommended for you

Poll: Big Bang a big question for most Americans

2 hours ago

Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 ...

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

Apr 17, 2014

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Apr 16, 2014

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Poll: Big Bang a big question for most Americans

Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Finnish inventor rethinks design of the axe

(Phys.org) —Finnish inventor Heikki Kärnä is the man behind the Vipukirves Leveraxe, which is a precision tool for splitting firewood. He designed the tool to make the job easier and more efficient, with ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.