What made you decide to work with this particular person? What characteristics did you notice about him or her that set him or her apart from the rest of the field? I met with Sofia Mitre. Sofia is a Mexican expatriate who has spent most of her life in the United States but travels regularly to Mexico to see family and go on business trips there.
Sofia grew up in a fairly wealthy family and attended an all-girls Catholic school. As such, she has always been extremely independent and outspoken. Furthermore, Sofia is bilingual, so she is able to fluidly communicate in both Spanish and English.
Sofia believes that there are stark differences between the business ethics of Mexicans and Americans. She believes that Mexicans are more inclined to be dishonest in business settings. Furthermore, Sofia claims that the culture of Mexico is much more relaxed than that of the U.S., which can often lead to a lack of productivity.
Although we were both born in Austin, Sofia considers herself a tourist to the United States as a Mexican citizen. While I was raised in a house that spoke only English with roots in the Southwest states of the United States, she grew up in a household influenced by Mexican culture. This is primarily what distinguishes us.
Even though we were both born and raised in the same city, our backgrounds have shaped how we view the world differently.
We decided to interview each other on business ethics in order to shed light on how our cultures shape our understanding of right and wrong in the business world.
Sofia: How would you describe business ethics in the U.S.?
I think that business ethics in the U.S. are based on a few key principles. The first is that businesses should act in ways that are legal and honest. This includes obeying all laws and regulations, being truthful in advertising and marketing, and behaving ethically in all interactions with customers, suppliers, and employees. secondly, businesses should strive to create value for all of their stakeholders, not just shareholders.
This means considering the impact of their decisions on employees, customers, suppliers, the environment, and society as a whole. Lastly, businesses should act responsibly and with integrity. This means being transparent, behaving ethically even when it is not required by law, and doing what is right even when it is not in the company’s financial interests.
Sofia: What do you think are the most important elements of business ethics in Mexico?
The most important elements of business ethics in Mexico are honesty, responsibility, and respect. Businesses should be honest in their dealings with customers, suppliers, and employees. They should also be responsible for their actions and take into account the impact of their decisions on all stakeholders. Lastly, businesses should show respect for the law and for the rights of others.
I think that these two lists of principles are very similar. The main difference is that Mexican business ethics seem to place a greater emphasis on honesty and responsibility, while American business ethics seem to place a greater emphasis on creating value for all stakeholders.
Sofia: Do you think that there are any universal principles of business ethics?
I do think that there are some universal principles of business ethics. I think that businesses should always act legally and honestly, and they should strive to create value for all stakeholders. However, I also think that the specific details of how these principles are applied will vary from culture to culture. For example, in the U.S., businesses are expected to be transparent and behave ethically even when it is not required by law. In Mexico, businesses are expected to show respect for the law and for the rights of others.
I think that these two examples illustrate how cultures can shape the way that business ethics are applied. I think that, ultimately, the goal of business ethics should be to create a fair and just society. But how we go about achieving that goal will vary from culture to culture.
What is the best way to demonstrate respect when conducting business?
“Gentlemen and ladies, while chatting in the United States, it is important to maintain a good distance at all times,” states Sofi. To demonstrate respect during business transactions, she adds that there is a much greater focus on casual conversation. When compared to the small talk in the United States, people tend to chat about friends and family more personally. Furthermore, we regard our personal space differently than Mexicans do. While interacting, it is typical to stand considerably closer to one another.
Finally, punctuality is not as important in Mexico. If you are meeting someone for coffee, it is not uncommon for the person to be up to 30 minutes late.
What are some common business etiquette faux pas?
Some common business etiquette faux pas in Mexico would include failing to make small talk, standing too far away from someone while talking, and being punctual. Failing to make small talk would be considered rude because it would signal that you are not interested in building a relationship with the person. Standing too far away from someone would be interpreted as a lack of interest or respect. Finally, being punctual is not as important in Mexico so if you are meeting someone for coffee, it is not uncommon for the person to be up to 30 minutes late.
What are some common business customs?
Some common business customs in Mexico include using a lot of hand gestures while talking, dressing more formally than in the U.S., and always being punctual. Hand gestures are used to emphasize points and add expressiveness to speech. People dress more formally because they want to be seen as professional and competent. Being punctual is important because it shows that you respect the person’s time.
What are some cross-cultural differences that could impact business negotiations?
Some cross-cultural differences that could impact business negotiations include the importance of personal relationships, the use of nonverbal communication, and the concept of time. In Mexico, personal relationships are very important and must be established before business negotiations can take place. Nonverbal communication, such as eye contact and facial expressions, is also very important in Mexico. The concept of time is more flexible in Mexico so deadlines may not be taken as seriously.