MEXICO
BUSINESS ETHICS

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WORK & LEISURE
Works to live.  Leisure is essential for full life.
DIRECTION & DELEGATION
Traditional manager is autocratic.  Subordinates used
to being assigned tasks, not authority
LOYALTY
Mostly loyal to superiors, versus the organization.
STAFFING
Nepotism is widely practiced.  Promotions are loyalty 
based.
COMPETITION
Avoids personal competition; favors harmony at work
TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT
Highly theoretical.  Few structured programs
TIME
Relative concept.  Deadlines flexible.  Myopic type of 
perspective.
Mexico’s Culture and Ethics

     The person that I chose to interview for the Mexican perspective was Michael Conwell, Senior Vice President and Manager of International Banking at Hibernia Bank.  He lived in Monterrey for several years while growing up and has since lent millions of dollars to businesses in Mexico.  He is keenly aware of the Mexican culture and their methods of conducting business.
    According to Mr. Conwell, “Mexicans are very family oriented, with the family being their foremost priority.”  The family theme is ubiquitous throughout Mexico in both the business and social settings.  “Saving face with the family is paramount to the Mexican culture,” according to Mr. Conwell.  However, Mr. Conwell does say that “women aren’t highly regarded in the workplace,” which he refers to as “machoism.”  He asserts “women are expected to fulfill the domestic role, including child bearing and child rearing.”
    “Although commerce with Mexico has increased tremendously with the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexicans are very nationalistic and don’t particularly like Americans,” according to Mr. Conwell.  Mr. Conwell said that “in order for him to transact business in Mexico, he has to establish close relationships with his Mexican counterparts.”  Mexican’s rely heavily on relationships to guide their business decisions.  “The entire economy revolves around who you know in order to make things happen in both the private and public sectors.”  Mr. Conwell claims this relationship building precludes any type of expediency in the business process.”  “A commercial loan in Mexico might take as long as 6 months, whereas it only takes 1 day in the United States.”
     When I asked Mr. Conwell about some insight into the ethical side of business in Mexico, he laughed.  He exclaimed “truth is a relative term in Mexico.”  “The relationship is the most important component to successfully transacting business in Mexico,” according to Mr. Conwell.  If he has a good relationship with a company and its people, they will deal with him judiciously.  Conversely, if the relationship is flimsy, it can be very problematic.  He gave me an example of a business dealing he had with a prodigious Mexican firm.  He said he had extended credit to this firm for working capital, using its receivables as collateral.  After several years of timely payments, the firm discontinued paying on the loan.  Mr. Conwell presented the loan package to his board of director’s for their input on determining the most viable method for collecting the loan.  The board recommended the traditional method of collection involving seizing the receivables.  While this seemed to be the most plausible method, Mr. Conwell knew from his experience in Mexico this method would be unsuccessful. He knew that the company and its owner’s were very politically connected and could influence the courts to either rule in the company’s favor or postpone the trial date until the receivables were worthless.  Therefore, Mr. Conwell suggested he fly to Monterrey and threaten to publish in the local paper a story about the owners and their reprehensible behavior.  Although this method was very unorthodox it proved to be very effective, with the owners paying off the loan.  Mr. Conwell said “the owners fear of losing face with the community coupled with their inability to borrow from other institutions, inevitably convinced the owners to pay.”  He felt that the traditional method of suing through the court was futile given the level of corruption in the judiciary system.  He said that one of the “largest obstacles facing the Mexican economy is the inequities in the pay of judiciary personnel.”  “As long as the judges are making inadequate wages, they are vulnerable to corruption, which is hindering the flow of capital from foreign investme
 
 
 

Sources:  Mike Conwell Sr V.P. Hibernia Bank International Business (Interview)
Mexico Executive Planet, www.executiveplanet.com