Beyond paternalism: Cross-cultural perspectives on the functioning of a mexican production plant [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 73 (1):53 - 63 (2007)
Expatriate managers of international businesses in emerging countries often struggle to mobilize their workforces. They sometimes perceive profound cultural differences as a barrier to the progress of their organizations. Some international businesses may adopt a paternalistic attitude toward their employees; but this questionable strategy brings mixed results. Are there ways out of paternalism for international businesses in emerging areas? This paper examines the diverging views held by foreign managers and local personnel of a foreign-owned production plant in Mexico, which managed to mobilize its workforce by building a strong sense of community, allowing a certain form of collective control to replace the paternalistic model, with its bonds of personal allegiance. Contrasting perspectives between Mexican and foreign employees show that intercultural misunderstandings, rather than the peculiarities of the local culture, are the greatest challenge to cooperation
Keywords international business  Mexico  emerging countries  paternalism  cross-cultural management  maquiladoras  qualitative research
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