Når to kulturer støder sammen: De kulturelle barrierer danske forretningsfolk og virksomheder skal bryde på det mexicanske marked

Mette Mathiasen

Student thesis: Master thesis


In the light of earlier studies showing the importance of gaining adequate knowledge about the culture of a host country as a critical factor to prevent a business failure, the purpose of this thesis is to provide Danish companies and business people with basic tools to understand Mexican culture in order to avoid problems and challenges that may lead to business failure or confusion. Therefore this thesis seeks to analyse Mexican business culture and compare it to Danish business culture in order to find the dominating cultural differences between the two countries and find out which of these pose a challenge for Danish companies and Danes negotiating with Mexicans. The outcome of the thesis is based on both a theoretical as well as a practical point of view. The theoretical approach is mainly based on Geert Hofstede and Fons Trompenars´ value dimensions, which I have used to find the dominating cultural differences between Denmark and Mexico. These theories show the over all cultural differences between different countries in the World, but do not give an in-depth analysis of each country. Therefore I have supplemented their results with secondary sources such as Jon P. Howell and Joyce S. Osland, who have specific knowledge and experience from Latin American countries. Furthermore, their results are supplemented by interviews, I have made with Mexicans working in Denmark and Danes working in Mexico. The interviews are also meant as a way to verify Hofstede and Trompenaars´ theories, since I have found differences in the theoretical and empirical results. In addition to that, the interviews are used as means to come up with the specific challenges that Danes may experience, when working in Mexico or negotiating with Mexicans based on the cultural differences. The results from the value dimensions show, that Danish and Mexican business culture differ in many ways and are direct opposites in some dimensions. The value dimension creates a picture of the dominating cultural differences. The most obvious differences according to the results of the theories are found in Hofstede´s cultural dimensions. The two cultures also differ to a certain degree in Trompenaars´ cultural dimensions, but the results are not as striking as Hofstede´s findings. However, the differences in all the dimensions are big enough to cause challenges to some extent for Danish companies and Danes negotiating or working with Mexicans. According to the interviews and secondary sources the theory corresponds very well with the empirical findings except from the results of one of Trompenaars´ value dimensions “Affective vs. Neutral cultures”. Apart from that the only differences are that the cultural differences may no longer be as significant as the theories indicate due to the opening of the Mexican economy and the large number of foreign companies in Mexico, that influence the Mexican business culture towards a more western way of doing business. However, many of the differences are still significant enough to pose a challenge, while others do not seem to cause the Danes many problems. According to the interviews and secondary sources, the most common challenges faced by Danes in Mexico are identified to be the differences in hierarchy and the role of managers. In addition to that, the Mexicans have a more indirect way of speech and take criticism more personally than Danes. Furthermore, Danes working in Mexico have to deal with Mexican bureaucracy and corruption which thrives to a great extent in Mexico. The biggest challenge, however, seems to be the differences in the perception of time. Due to the cultural differences the most important factors to comply with according to the empirical findings are the way Danes speak and address Mexicans, to take time to build up a relationship, gain trust, be patient and polite, and adapt to the local culture.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages104