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It is impossible to understand a Mexican worker without understanding the Mexican history and culture in its basic aspects. The Mexican culture is a very traditional, family oriented, religious and also nationalist organisation in corporate identity. This is to the extent of, the only way of knowing the person is by knowing the family and without knowing the person they won't do business with the person. The Mexicans given more importance to the time they spend with their family and do not reduce that time at any cost. The close family concept includes the parents, children, grandparents, uncles, aunties and cousins and the weekend recreation includes relatives and friends also in the above said. This kind of extended family gives them a sense of stability. The culture is more of traditional gender egalitarianism with the father as the authority and the decision-maker. The Mexican males believe nothing must be done in such a way that it would tarnish their image as a man. The role of Mexican women has been homemaking and family, regardless of their great position in workplace. Education, title and family background provide social status, as they value title and position as important as money. In organisational structures Mexicans accept a large power distances and emphasize hierarchical relationships. In Mexican culture they are used to work like, company and society as a unit. They avoid uncertainty and respect their authorities, expect them to guide and take decisions. But still personal relationships must be nurtured and maintained carefully to get commitment from the working Mexicans. The personal respect and recognition motivate Mexicans. The Mexican cultural employees are very diplomatic, very courteous and have fixed loyalty towards the organisation they work. The Mexican culture is not task oriented. They are more punctual and optimistic in calculating time. They are warm and gracious and give respect to their sense of time and traditions. It is also important to give more stress on friendship in Mexican culture. There are staffing practices such as internal recruitment, personal references, succession planning, psychometric tests, and elaborate bio-data associated with these cultural dimensions, e-recruitment and panel interviews are not predominant in Mexican culture.
After the basics in the Mexican culture and outline knowledge of how it works in the organisation, now we are going to see on the hurdles that it causes in the implementing an environment with learning strategy focussed on employee involvement and empowerment. On global focus organisational learning is very important in an organisation not only for the progress of the individual but also for the organisation attain a steady growth as the organisations are dependent on individuals. The organisational learning strategy focussed on employee involvement and empowerment gives more focus on the growth of the individual in accordance with the growth of the organisation. But the Mexican culture does not give or very less room in organisational learning or in a strategy of it focussed on employee involvement. The employees in the Mexican work very much dependent on the hierarchical structure in their organisational culture. They don't take any decisions on their own and relay on their immediate boss for everything they do. If they take also the decisions are very conscious in relevance to their boss's decision making. They listen to the boss very carefully without any intervention and also with full consciousness and do what the boss recommends. This procedure in an organisation will not give any space for organisational learning or individual learning as the decision making process facilitates a lot in it, by which you can learn by mistakes and experiences. There is no way for knowledge diffusion inside the company or organisation. In the western organisation they persuade what they think, listens half to boss and learn a lot in experiences and mistakes. The acceptance of status in the organisation is very much and not demanding for human rights. Next is about communication styles, in the Mexican culture the way of communication to the top management is indirect as they have to communicate through their immediate boss. They have lots of inequality in the organisation and because of that they become very reserve, introvert less expressive of their views to the management of their organisation. In the highly stratified and vertically structured way of organisation promotions are not performance based and are on age and seniority based which does not facilitate any learning. The learning strategies relay heavily on the employee involvement in everyday decisions and experimentation but all the above said factors does not involve employees in anyway resulting in no room for organisational learning. There is lots of importance given to relationships than to the facts and figures within an organisation. Their organisation is more focussed on collectivism than on individualism which is again a hurdle for learning. They also take contracts inside the organisation for renegotiation than taking them as binding with and working on them by learning more new concepts. Moreover to all these Mexican organisational structures are more male dominant making the views of one gender of the society less or non expressive. This also contributes to the hurdles. All these factors make the Mexican culture as a less ideal environment 'in which to implement a learning strategy focussed on employee involvement and empowerment.
EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION TO ENGAGE IN LEARNING:
Equipos is a plastics producing company in an industrial city in the Gulf of Mexico. This plant is a technology-driven plant with employee strength of 170. In 1995 the company was bought by the American partner which was initially a joint venture with a Mexican partner. Initially there were Mexican managers heading the plant and the organisation was in the Mexican was of organisational culture. Then the employee empowerment began resulting in implementing self-managed teams. The teams divided functional roles within the team and the role of team leader changed every three months. The plant was down to three managers others becoming the team facilitators and served as team leaders in the absence of team leaders. Then the interviews were conducted asking the managers, facilitators how to reduce the cultural difference and the barriers in implementing learning. The interviewed Mexican managers, facilitators and employees who attended the meeting were asked for the direct feedback reducing the communication gap and also making them responsible towards the company. The teams also gave issues inside the plant with the problems they have and the management also believed in the employees and consequently trust built between the employees and the managers. By the way of having both horizontal and vertical way of communication and facilitating the reduction of hierarchical and moving towards flat organisational structure. There are lots of factors that surfaced in the process of doing the interviews and few of the important factors are going to be discussed.
Environmental factors are being one of the most important factors in this case. The work stability over the region, the plant had an advantage of permanent work-force due to the family atmosphere in their region while others have high turnover rate due to constant mobility. Education was another factor as there was a low level of education as the average level of education for the manufacturing sector in Mexico is 5 to 6 years. They hired younger age employees who are more open to change and wanted to learn new things. Finally they also came up with powerful unions and Equipos chose to work with unions providing high wages and cooperative relationships, these unions dint have any objection to the use of teams and increased participation.
The primary organisational factor they found was the joint venture between an U.S and a Mexican partner. The joint venture gave a Mexican top management team to afford a thorough understanding of the Mexican culture and aide in the implementing if these programs. The other factor is, the top management gave a management philosophy that geared towards the empowerment and learning. This was first initiated by the Mexican top management by approaching the U.S partner for management aide. One of the important factors in this case is the size of the plant with strength of 170 facilitating the implementation such programs.
Equipos had basically three sets of H.R practices that facilitated the learning. First set of practices were the standard H.R practices that equipos implemented were self-managed team works, setting up clear goals, open communication, ongoing training, reward system, managers were given new roles. To attract and retain the skilled labour they gave the highest pay in the area. The second set of practices to say on a whole were on setting culture specific H.R practices such as retaining the Mexican managers and the other advantageous environmental factors that aided their implementation. The third set of practices was the most important one as it dealt with the translation of U.S MNC's practices to fit in with the Mexican. These three sets of practices contributed to the human resources practices of equipos.
This integrated model of the relationship between organisational, environmental and HR practices on employee behaviour show the important environmental and organisational factors that influence the choice of HR practices to be implemented in these kind of culture adopting processes. These variables are similar to the exogenous and endogenous variables given by the Schuler, Budwar, and Florkowski but still the model is based on a case described in the articles by Negandhi and Prasad-1971, schuler-2002. This model highlights the critical importance of the HR practices that support the theories of IHRM that propose the HR practices that can be used to align the MNE goals and objectives with the host-country affiliate dynamics. This also shos the importance of HRM in the task of implementing practices that strategically deal with the challenges provide by the foreign environment. The model first the organisational factors that are to be taken into consideration, they are method of founding joint venture play an important role in the understanding and getting adopted to the foreign environment. The management philosophy and management attitude towards the culture also plays key role in adopting or implementing new culture into an existing one. In addition to all these the ability to deal with the culture size is also given high priority. The environmental factors like national values, regional values, education also play a vital role. Here the socioeconomic and industrial factors also are added as factors in the environmental factors. Now keeping these organisational and environmental factors as variables important HR practices have been selected, first are the standard practices and then the culture-specific practices as the influence the people and can well understand the locals than anybody else. For this they retained the local managers and given them all the freedom to develop a trust between the employees and management. The final and the most important one is the translation of U.S MNC practices into such practices that can suite into the Mexican environment as the practices implemented as like the same will not be accepted in any foreign environment. All the factors, human resource practices all integrated together give a model that was very helpful in implementing organisational learning.
From the case study we saw how a foreign organisational culture can be implemented into an existing culture. This is to the extent that the management culture which is not congruent to the country's culture can be also implemented with the help of HR practices. Even though both the organisational and environmental factor are taken as variables for the deciding of HR practices, the environmental factors have influence on the organisational factors or it can also be said it is highly influenced by the environmental factors. This is also shown in the model as the flow from the environmental factors goes to all the boxes in the model, to HR practices, to organisational factors and also to the organisational employee behaviour and culture. The high light of this study is importance of joint venture in the cross-culture management. But when ever implementing cross-cultures the size and the age of the plant must be taken into account as an important caution factor. Thus we studied about the Equipos case study and how it motivated its employees in becoming engaged to an unfamiliar strategy. Also thus we studied about the different cultures and how to manage changes in cross-culture making us easy to implement any strategies in a management in any culture.