Culture is a unique attribute of human beings that demarcate people over world on basis of their customs, beliefs, ideas, morals, characteristics, knowledge and set of values. Culture has been the greatest determinant of progress of civilization, binding the separate, isolated groups of individuals in form of societies founded on certain common principles while retaining scope of individual expansion and intellectual growth (Aronson, 1995). The distinction and variation induced due to numerous cultural components has resulted in the immense diversity and broadness, enriching the experience of human civilization.
This paper looks at different cultural components that demarcate United States of America and Mexico, two neighbor countries sharing same geographical location, but widely different in their individual social, political, economic, and cultural evolution. Value component of culture The value component of various culture are generally measured over four parameters of (i) Individualism/Collectivism component; (ii) Hierarchy component; (iii) Risk taking/Conventional approach; (iv) gender power (Hofstede, 1980). USA and Mexico show considerable variance on these parameters.
The cultural progression of Mexico makes it a society that focuses on collective performance and collective more than individual achievements, whereas USA’s culture is prominently reflected in it being a highly individualistic country. The society of Mexico shows a high degree of hierarchy, where personal and social power is divided on basis of position. In contrast, USA has a well structured meritocracy based system, where every individual is entitled every position of power, based on their individual capacity and faculties.
Mexico is a high gender society, where males predominate in social, economic and political spheres while USA is a egalitarian, equality based country that principally and effectively treats every individual alike (Diaz and Draguns, 1999). Social Component of Culture The social component of culture defines the placeholder and roles of individual, family, friends, spouse, children and peers in the context of self, society and the nation (Diaz and Draguns, 1999).
Mexicans conform to a family oriented society, with deep emotional affiliation within families, great emphasis on inter-personal relations, love, care and obedience to elders, forwarding the interests of family members, spouse and children before the self. Mexican parents have an extended role to play in life of their children, from ensuring their education to their acculturization in the family and social system. Mexican society prefers joint family system with two or three generations sharing the same roofs.
American family system, on the other hand, is strictly limited to the nuclear scale of husband, wife and kids, placing high value on individual happiness and accomplishments (ibid). While Mexican families are deeply bounded by love and care and hence are closely knit, American families are focused on aggressively pursuing economic interests and promote the spirit of risk undertaking, traveling and even opt for possible settlements in distant geographic regions as the need comes. Thus Mexican culture has strongly embedded components of unity, collectivism, cohesion, and mutual help.
On the other hand, the culture of USA is strongly oriented towards individual self reliance and economic preferences that define their behavioral framework. Reference Rolando Diaz-and Juris G. Draguns Personality and Person Perception across Cultures: Yueh-Ting Lee – editor, Clark R. McCauley – editor, Juris G. Draguns – editor. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of Publication: Mahwah, NJ. Publication Year: 1999 Hofstede, G. ( 1980). Cultures consequences: International differences in work-related values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.