Cultural similarities: India and Latin America

by Dave

During all my travels from Mexico down to Argentina, I’ve always been struck by how the culture in this extended region is similar to that in India. By culture, I mean the shared societal values and the resultant behavior. This is a great launch pad for business collaboration since so many international ventures fail due to lack of ‘cultural fit’.

Some of these shared values across India and Latin America include:

  • Collectivism, especially with special emphasis on the family (la familia) – identity is tied to group membership
  • Hierarchy (High Power distance) – inequalities in power are natural and expected
  • Indirect Communication – important to respect people’s feelings, cannot say no directly
  • Particularism – Behavior tailored to situations and contexts
  • Polychronism – Time is adjusted to suit the needs of people
  • High Context – Shared assumptions between members of the country or in-group

Of course, there are variances across subgroups and regions, but overall these common values seem to hold. In subsequent posts, I will elaborate and give examples of the associated behaviors and the resulting business impact.

These value definitions are based on the work of Geert Hofstede, Trompenaars-HampdenTurner and Edward Hall.