Cross Cultural Awareness (Clemson-Tec)

Communication – Week 1

Email to supervisor

Dear Mr. Johnson

I write this email to inform you that I have finished writing the weekly report, in which I include the progress in production compared to the past weeks, starting in January 2016. I attach the report, so you might be able to review it before the presentation done to the department.

I look forward for any possible comments on the report.

Thanks,                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gerardo Lopez-L.

Translation to Spanish Literal

Estimado Sr. Johnson,

Yo escribo este correo para informarle que yo he terminado escribiendo el semanal reporte, en el cual yo incluye el progreso en producción comparado a las pasadas semanas, comenzando en enero 2016. Yo adjunto el reporte, para que usted pueda revisarlo antes de la presentación al departamento.

Yo veo adelante para cualquier posible comentario sobre el reporte.

Gracias,                                                                                                                                                                                                  Gerardo López-L.

Letter to supplier

5/29/2016

To whom it may concern,

I write on behalf of BMW-Spartanburg, I am the new person in charge of purchases for the plant. We are in need of one of your technicians to come to the plant, because one of your robotic arms has failed and needs repair, we think it might something with the programming, as the robot does not stop when an object is within the security range. We hope you can send someone as soon as possible, because this problem might affect our workers when they are moving around the floor.

I look forward on hearing from you.

Thanks,                                                                                                                                                                                                  Gerardo Lopez-L.

Translation to Spanish Literal

5/29/2016

Para quien pueda corresponder,

Yo escribo de parte de BMW-Spartanburg, Yo soy la nueva persona en cargo de compras para la planta. Nosotros estamos en necesidad de uno de sus técnicos de venir a la planta, porque uno de sus brazos robóticos ha fallado y necesidad reparación, nosotros pensamos que puede ser algo con la programación, pues el robot no se detiene cuando un objeto se encuentra dentro del seguridad rango. Nosotros esperando que ustedes puedan enviar a alguien lo antes posible, porque este problema puede afectar a nuestros trabajadores que se están moviendo por el piso.

Yo veo adelante para escucharlos.

Gracias,                                                                                                                                                                                                   Gerardo López-L.

Memorandum

To: All purchase department

During the weekend the IT department will install a new system for the inventory and purchase registration, which we will start using on Monday. You will receive an email in which we attach a file that explains how the new system works, this solution was proposed to make things easier for our control and prevent unnecessary purchases. If you have any questions regarding how to use it you can send me a message and I will try to solve your doubts.

Thank you,                                                                                                                                                                                               Gerardo Lopez-L.

Translation to Spanish Literal

Para: Todo compras departamento

Durante el fin de semana el IT departamento va a instalar un nuevo sstema para el inventario y las compras registro, el caul nosotros vamos a comenzar a usar el lunes. Ustedes vana  recibir un email en el cual se adjunta un archivo que explica como el nuevo sistema funciona, esta solución fue propuesta para hacer las cosas sencillas para nuestro control y prevenir innecesarias compras. Si ustedes tienen cualquier preguntas en relación a como usarlo pueden enviarme a mi un mesanhe y yo voy a tratar de resolver sus dudas.

Gracias,                                                                                                                                                                                                   Gerardo López-L.

Business practices – Week 2

Synergy

In manufacturing companies it is common that the workers are divided into teams that are related to specific areas or products made by the company. Areas that are often seen doing this are production, quality, and tooling. Companies use this scheme in order give rewards to teams depending on there performance and to allow them to propose new ideas within there team to make there work better and have a better work relationship, at least within the team.

Leadership in American business

As seen in class the most common type of leadership in businesses in the United States starts with one leader, in most cases the CEO, who is followed by the region manager, in case of the companies with international presence, or area directors, in case they do not have international presence. Then it is divided into specific task leaders that have there workers below them.

This leadership scheme shows how the American culture is all about making money without caring about personal relationships. In this type of leadership the public face of the company and, in almost every case takes whole responsibility for any possible problem, is the CEO as it has been seen through history and most recently can be exemplified with the General Motors crisis. The leaders have interaction only with those directly below them, and usually do not go beyond that and vice versa.

Manufacturing organizational chart

A manufacturing organizational chart follow the typical hierarchy organizational structure. Consisting of a shareholder/owner at the top, followed by a board of directors that have direct interaction with the plant director, and the financial and legal departments. Below this level the company divides into departments, mainly: production, investment, marketing, technical, and human resources; but these may change depending on each specific company. In the departments there will be groups, which are in charge of specific tasks belonging to the department in which they work.

manufacturing-orgchart

Journal entry

Business and industry communication practices in Mexico and USA

In this first week of course we started discussing about different topics regarding communication in Mexico and the USA, especially in the business and industry world. The main difference we could identify is that in Mexico we tend to make our message longer by talking by details that sometimes might be unnecessary and may affect negatively the message you wish to communicate. This extra content includes introductions and words that make our expressions fancier and more formal or appropriate for the context of the receiver of our message. In the other hand the American culture, at least in relation to business, tends to have a more direct and concise form of communication as they do not make unnecessary introductions and the messages are shorter so they are understood without any problems.

The second main aspect we saw between communication in Mexico and the USA is the differences between formal and informal messages, which is more related to the language. In Spanish we have two different persons to use when the message is informal “tu” or formal “usted”, while in English it is just the pronoun “you”. Also in Spanish to make a phrase sound formal it changes completely, while in English it just adds a few words. This just applies in certain cases, but especially when closing a message, either letter or email.

Another aspect to consider is the culture or customs of the writer, as he or she is influenced by his context, specifically regarding his or her location, because within the same country, in different regions, communication practices may change. And this can be seen both in Mexico and the USA. For example, in the northern part of Mexico in Monterrey people tend to be colder when relating to other people, because the culture is more industry oriented, which is more formal. While in the southern parts of the country people tend to be warmer, because the culture is more oriented toward receiving tourism or its main production is related to agriculture, which may be considered a more informal way of living. In the USA I have witnessed this in two different states, the first is Texas where I think people is less friendly and colder, similar to what happens in Monterrey. While in South Carolina people are friendlier, similar to what happens in the southern parts of Mexico. So it this is also a factor to consider when trying to communicate with people either from your country or a different one. Especially when the communication needs to be formal.

During this week I learned a lot about communication and how it differs in Mexico and the USA, but especially the differences within Monterrey and Clemson. I think the way to get the ability to have effective communication in any place is by learning about the culture and people’s behavior in the region from which they are from, as well as how a certain company goes on with its communication. So as we are able to understand these things we can change slightly our minds and adapt to be able to deliver an effective message. The way to get these tools that will work in our favor in the future is by pure experience that’s why many schools and companies make emphasis on having international experience. Because it is in this way that we can learn and practice our behaviors and understand how other people behave, and if you get to visit as many different countries as possible the better it is. As for myself taking this opportunity to visit Clemson for a month and then compare what I already knew to what I am getting will give me the necessary tools to improve my means of communicating with different people.

 

Business and industry leadership practices in Mexico and USA

The main scheme of leadership in the industry in both Mexico and the United States is very similar as they can be seen as a hierarchy order. With the difference that Mexico has the influence of Latin culture, in which personal relationships are very important to have a good working atmosphere.

In the United States the leadership is solely focused on making money, so they need effective work that is always producing monetary wins for the company. Although they still care about how the company is seen from the outside, so they have different programs that make the public image better; these programs are always related to social responsibility either with the community around the company or the environment. Also in American companies it is common to see programs for the employees for recreation, but with the focus of making them work better and with more motivation rather than having them making better relationships between them, In the other hand, Mexican companies do not establish their purpose solely on making money, but as well in giving back to the community and keeping their employees happy with different rewards and recreation programs. And it is common that people in the upper levels are in constant communication or know by name the employees in levels below them.

In both countries the top level is the owner or a group of main shareholders, who form a board of directors with different people who are directly working at and for the company. In the United States the responsibility, when it comes to public news is, most of the time, carried by the CEO and is the member of the board that is well known by people outside the company. While in Mexico the whole board takes responsibility, including the shareholders, and all of them are well known by the community. But it is very common that the owner or shareholders take responsibility for the company’s actions especially when they are good ones. The main example is Carlos Slim, who is the well-known owner of the most important telecommunications company in Mexico.

Another thing to be noted in this leadership differences between both countries is that both have a lot of presence of companies from other countries, and it is easily seen how the leadership schemes of these different countries is reflected and mixed with that natural to either Mexico or the United States. In South Carolina we saw this in Electrolux and AFL, while in Mexico it can be seen in companies like John Deere or any automotive manufacturing plant present in the country that is not German, because German companies tend to bring their whole culture and make their employees adapt to it.

 

Employee and employer relationships in Mexico and USA

As we saw in class there are many different types of employee-employer relationships that can be seen worldwide with certain differences focused on how they are practiced, especially outside the work place.

From what I have seen personally, in Mexico the business relationships tend to become more personal, and they usually turn into friendships because of the culture that is found within Latin American people. Also, in Mexico it is common to find relationships built based on the values shown by the worker to the company and to his/her employer, for example the hard work and commitment shown by doing extra hours or the loyalty to the company by staying many years working for it. It is normal to see people who do this have a better relationship with their boss and employer.

In the other hand, in the United States business relationships tend to be just work relationships, because most of the people tend to not become friends with their employer or with their employees. Although it is common to see them hang out it is certain the most of the time it is business related. There might be exceptions in this case, especially when we are talking about small companies and/or people in the same level at the job, acquaintances. Also, what I could appreciate during the several industry visits we had while at Clemson is that in the United States working extra hours is not seen in a positive way and that they are very strict with schedules and breaks. Another thing I noted is that employers developed a good relationships with their employees based on performance and how they managed to think in processes that could be done better, a reward for innovating; for thinking outside of the box.

 

Influence of cultural elements in the industrial ecosystem of South Carolina

During our four week stay in South Carolina and the several industry visits we had in that period of time we were able to identify the cultural differences between South Carolina and Monterrey, especially those found on the business environment. The main characteristic we observed during this period of time were the communication practices, relationships in the business environment, and the leadership methods, and how they compared with what we had seen in Mexico in our own personal experience, while making a connection with the superior education system in the state, which consists mainly of two major universities: Clemson and USC.

It was easy to see how people in the industry in South Carolina brought in there outside behaviors into their business relationships. For example, in BMW it was easy to notice the seriousness in the relationship between the coworkers, because of the German influence, while in General Electric and some of the other companies with a more American based culture it was easy to find out that it was a warmer and friendlier environment. This also influenced the leadership in the company, as the organizational structure changed within each company, and this being highly influenced by the cultural origin of the firm.

Another cultural element that could be easily identified to be influencing the different companies was the communication channels within each firm and the flexibility they had regarding working hours, because although most of them worked full-time shifts in a 24/7 basis, they all had the discipline to maintain the resting time in order to keep their employees happy. The reason I think this happens more often in the United States than in Mexico is because of the power the different working unions have and the influence they carry around in the different sectors. In the United States is more common to see the unions win cases against companies than it is in Mexico.

The influence of the universities in the industry environment in South Carolina is very big, as we saw all of the companies we visited made a lot of emphasis in their relationship with Clemson and how most of their higher ranked employees were Clemson alumni. Also, companies like BMW and GE mentioned they had a lot of projects in which they worked directly with universities in undergraduate and graduate levels. The main evidence of this was when we had the opportunity to visit de CU-ICAR were most of the investment was done by BMW, making the collaboration within industry and academia obvious and very strong as this facility allows different companies to find and develop talent for future permanent employment. This concept is something Tec de Monterrey is trying to replicate in Mexico and it is just starting.

These different characteristics and elements show high influence on the industrial environment not just in South Carolina, but in the whole world with changes depending on the behavior of the cultures in each region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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