This is an example of the messages I occasionally receive through the online form:
“Dear Sir/Madam, I am writing to ask if you could please point me in the right direction. I am South American and have a hard time understanding certain personality traits Americans have, especially in the workplace. People tend to be more laid back down here. Even though I am way more strict than my Argentine peers, I wish I could understand Americans better. I'd like to be a business analyst one day and a lot of what that role does is understand what business owners and other important stakeholders want. I would be grateful if you could recommend me resources that expand on this cultural difference between Americans and South Americans in the workplace, what they respect, what they look down on, what they expect from a new employee, how to gain their trust, etc.”
While (mostly due to time constraints!) I'm not always able to accommodate 'special requests' , I'm more than happy to provide a weekly space dedicated to your questions and doubts here on the blog.
Please feel free to send me your requests - preferably through the online form - and keep an eye on the hashtag #askmudita on LinkedIn, where I’ll confirm the subject of our upcoming weekly conversations: I'm not going to share the sources of the queries, but I trust that you'll recognize your own ;)
Here’s my response to the message above:
“Dear Mr. F.,
Thank you kindly for reaching out.
Generally speaking, Americans (intended as Anglo-Americans from the US,I suppose?) come from a culture with the following characteristics:
- Low Power Distance
- Low Uncertainty Avoidance
Argentina and Latin American countries in general, on the other hand, are usually high-context, polychronic, high in power distance, collectivist, “masculine”, high in uncertainty avoidance.
Since I am not sure whether you are familiar with cultural dimensions and with these definitions, I hope that links to the infographics I’ve created for the website will help you understand some of the differences between North- and South-Americans.
For self-learning purposes, I also suggest to have a look into the Globe Project highlighting the main discrepancies between the Anglo- and the Latin America clusters. For instance:
Latin American cluster:
“Overall, these societies maintain close family ties and individuals express pride and loyalty in organizations and family. Members of these societies do not expect power to be distributed evenly among citizens, instead accepting authority, power differentials, status privileges, and social inequality.”
“Countries in this cluster reward high performance and value competitiveness. On the cultural dimension of In-Group Collectivism the cluster is relatively low compared to other clusters, signifying its well-known propensity for individualistic behaviour.
It is male dominated, as are all societies, but average in comparison to the other country clusters. The acceptance of power differences and status privileges is on the low end compared to the average among country clusters.”
Hope this helps a little?
The topic is complex and since I’m fully aware that it cannot be covered in one single email exchange, I suggest to connect with me on LinkedIn and to read the blog for further insight :)
A list of recommended readings can be found at at the end of each infographic.
Many thanks once again for your interest in Mudita’s work.