Cultural Analysis of Guatemala


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  • -Guatemala has the highest Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) Hofstede Dimension ranking of all Latin countries-As a result of their extreme low level of uncertainty acceptance strict rules, laws, policies, and regulations are adopted and implemented.-The ultimate goal of this population is to control everything in order to eliminate or avoid the unexpected.-Guatemala has the highest Power Distance (PDI) ranking among Latin countries. -This is indicative of a high level of inequality of power and wealth within the society. The US has a ranking of 46, compared to the world average of 64. A low ranking in the Uncertainty Avoidance Dimension is indicative of a society that has fewer rules and does not attempt to control all outcomes and results. It also has a greater level of tolerance for a variety of ideas, thoughts, and beliefs. -The next lowest ranking Dimension for the United States is Power Distance (PDI) at 40, compared to the world Average of 55. This is indicative of a greater equality between societal levels, including government, organizations, and even within families. This orientation reinforces a cooperative interaction across power levels and creates a more stable cultural environment. 
  • Guatemala has a low Individualism (IDV) ranking. They have a long-term commitment to the member 'group’ examples can be seen through family, extended family, or extended relationships. Loyalty in a collectivist culture is vital, and over-rides most other societal rules and regulations. The society fosters strong relationships where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group. Guatemala has the largest divergence of Power Distance (PDI) to Individualism (IDV) of any country surveyed in the world, with a difference of 89 (PDI-95 minus IDV-6 = 89).The high Individualism (IDV) ranking for the United States indicates a society with a more individualistic attitude and relatively loose bonds with others. The populace is more self-reliant and looks out for themselves and their close family members.
  • Guatemala has a low Individualism (IDV) ranking. They have a long-term commitment to the member 'group’ examples can be seen through family, extended family, or extended relationships. Loyalty in a collectivist culture is vital, and over-rides most other societal rules and regulations. The society fosters strong relationships where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group. Guatemala has the largest divergence of Power Distance (PDI) to Individualism (IDV) of any country surveyed in the world, with a difference of 89 (PDI-95 minus IDV-6 = 89).The high Individualism (IDV) ranking for the United States indicates a society with a more individualistic attitude and relatively loose bonds with others. The populace is more self-reliant and looks out for themselves and their close family members.
  • Collectivist culture that strongly values the family dynamicGuatemalans view their parents as ‘espejos’ (mirrors), children depend on their parents for guidance throughout their livesFamily members live in close proximity to one-another and are rarely aloneAn invitation to a party or social event would be interpreted to include children and grandparents
  • Guatemala-Traditional family dynamic may include parents, married and unmarried children and their nuclear families-Families also care for elderly relatives, and padrinos are considered an important part of the family -Women marry young in Guatemala and have many children-It is very common for women to give birth at home
  • Only 60 percent of Guatemala's population speaks Spanish; the remaining 40 percent speak indigenous Mayan languages. These dialects are spoken in many of the country's rural schools. One of Guatemala's educational goals is to become uni-lingual, which means that ideally all Guatemalans would be able to speak Spanish.
  • An enrollment of about two-thirds of those eligible to attend primary schools declines to less than one-fifth for secondary schools. The adult literacy rate is one of the lowest in Central America. In rural areas, even many of those who have attended primary schools (usually only to the third grade) are functionally illiterate as adults.
  • History of unrest and violence, Young political systemSince independence from Spain there have been a series of dictators, overthrows, sporadic elections, and military coups. The first constitution was enacted in 1985 that separated the three branches of government similar to the US. The constitution was reformed in 1993, with the peace accords finalized in December 1996 brought a formal end to a war that had lasted intermittently for 36 years. The state is weak, even by Latin American standards. Tax revenues total just 11% of GDP, depriving governments of the wherewithal to provide such basic public services as security, health care and schooling. Large Power Distance in State--Use of offices – It is expected that most elected official use their short periods in office to raise their prestige and line their pockets – There was long string of dictators after the colonization of Spain so while there is currently an elected government, the country has only officially been at peace for -Scandals expected - Current president, Alvaro Colom, was accused of a hand in an assassination where the dead journalist left a videotape accusing the president. For mainly middle-class Guatemalans, the case casts doubt on the credentials of MrColom, a businessman of the centre-left elected as president in 2007, as a crusader for good government and justice. (economist)- 56 politicians or party activists were killed during the 2007 presidential campaignPower Distance not representedHigh newspaper readership – Guatemala has one of the highest illiteracy rates in Latin America at about 31 percent. Complicating matters is that large indigenous communities in Guatemala do not speak or read Spanish (close to 40 percent of the population self-identifies as indigenous). In this context, it is not surprising that newspapers in Guatemala are not as popular as TV or radio. However, in urban areas, to which this study focuses, newspaper readership is strong. Nearly 40 percent of urban dwellers surveyed said they read a newspaper daily and about 72 percent said they read a paper at least weekly. ( leaders - With this your democracy there is a lot of transition, no party has won the presidency more than once and in every election period the majority of the parties are small and newly-formed. Even the longer-lived parties tend to last less than a decade as significant forces in Guatemalan politics. Many political parties - Also non-consistent is in large power distant countries there tends to be just one party, there are dozens in Guatemala. The power distance could reflect more on the past repressive government rather than the current, but very new democracy.
  • Collectivism – It was mentioned in several places that politics should be avoided as a topic of conversation. ( is still a poor country which is highly correlated with low individualism.-United fruit, and American owned company, once owned 42% of Guatelamas land. The heavy-handed involvement of the company in governments which often were or became corrupt created the term “Banana Republic” representing a "servile dictatorshipFeminine State-More feminine states are more of welfare states, spending on public services, while more masculine spend on military.-Spending on military Total: USD $120 million,As a percent of GDP: 0.6% (FY99), United States was 3.0% of GDP in 1999, WELFARE SPENDING???Masculine Characteristics- The use of force and violence to solve problems could also be a reflection of a more masculine culture. -Guatemala, along with Paraguay, Honduras and Brazil, has one of the lowest percentages of women legislators in Latin. Indigenous women in particular.Several of the factors that block women’s political participation which I see as symbols of High power distance:• Patriarchy and exclusion persist as the bases of societal arrangements, in which values are gauged through machoand racist socio-cultural standards that discriminate against women’s participation. This negative model and normalso perpetuates itself in the family and in interpersonal relations. • The group of women organized around gender issues is very small compared to the total number of Guatemalanwomen. The typical woman has accepted her circumstances and playing “her role”. The typical woman is notinterested in participating in politics, as she does not consider it important.Immigration - Since 1987, when the process of voluntary individual repatriation began, there has been a steadily increasing return of Guatemalans who had been living for years in neighboring countries, especially Mexico. It is estimated that some 20,000 people returned between 1993 and 1995 and since 1996, after the Peace Accords were signed, people have been returning in much larger numbers. For the most part, those who have come back have made their homes in remote jungle areas, where they are living in precarious conditions without basic services. (PAHO) This influx of Guatemalans that have been living in other cultures could be leading to a more diverse cultural context. The lack of consistency of parties - This seems very opposite to the country’s extreme high uncertainty avoidance – where people avoid the unknown. There are many protests, not expected in uncertainty avoiding cultures. But many protests are out of habit, not actually expecting change.
  • ProfileAccording to data from 1989, the proportion of the population living in conditions of poverty was 75% for the country as a whole, with 58% living in extreme poverty. Both poverty and extreme poverty are higher in rural areas and among the indigenous population, 93% of whom were living in poverty and 91% in extreme poverty in 1989. By contrast, among the nonindigenous population the proportions were only 66% and 45%, respectively. (PAHO)The health sector is made up of both public and private institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and a large sector of traditional medicine surviving from the Mayan culture, which is found mainly in rural areas among the indigenous population. Large power-distance – Fewer Doctors, use of nurses. Guatemala uses volunteers for state programFeminine Healthcare System – 10% PrivateNew National Comprehensive Health Care System (SIAS) At the national level, institutional coverage of the population is as follows: Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance, 25%; IGSS, 17%; Military Health Service, 2.5%; nongovernmental organizations, 4%; and the private sector, 10%. - Less than 60% of the population has the benefit of some form of health service coverage, and this coverage has not increased substantially since 1990, when it was 54%. A Comprehensive Health Care System (SIAS) was designed, which is now being implemented and intends to provide basic health care to the entire population that currently is without access to health services. - Basic services will be offered including (1) care of pregnant women through prenatal monitoring,; (2) child health care, vaccination, control of acute diseases, and nutritional evaluation and care of children under 2 years of age; (3) emergency and acute disease care(PAHO)- Mental health has not been given high priority in Guatemala, but for the past two years a group of governmental and nongovernmental agencies has called attention to the problem and to promotion of development of a national mental health program. There are only 375 beds in the whole country and 10 psychologists. (PAHO)
  • Western medicine has had an influence on the indigenous For example, the Maya medical term yab’ilal is used to describe a “disease for everyone” and k’oqob’al is used to describe when “someone is making you sick.” As a result of these indigenous categories, Western biomedicine has had more of an influence on diseases placed in the yab’ilal category, while those changes brought about by Catholic and Protestant missionaries have effected k’oqob’al diseases. Western medicine’s fixation on microbial and pathogenic types of diseases has resulted in its influence on “diseases for everyone”.Another component of this medical pluralism is that indigenous healers are often romantically framed in the West. They often do not know unlimited amounts of botanical knowledge, often know only a handful to several dozen plants that have medicinal propertiesIt proposes a reordering of the health sector in which the roles and functions of the state, the market, and civil society are redefined. The objective is to privatize health care at the expense of the public health services. The SIAS is based on contracting private providers and administrators for health services.The problems that have been identified in the implementation of the SIAS and the health care reform are:- It is a limited, selective, low quality package of health services.- The sustainability of the services depends on volunteers with heavy responsibilities. The health care of the poorest populations depends on volunteer workers. If the volunteer fails, the system fails unlike communities being responsible for their own healing.The rich experience of traditional resources and practices is not taken into account.-The implementation is in a vertical manner without consultation or participation with the community - Various sectors of the population are marginalized and the services are inequitable.-The doctor patient relationship is destroyed.
  • Cultural Analysis of Guatemala

    1. 1. Intercultural Case Study Analysison Guatemala“En Lak Eck” You are me…-Mayan Proverb
    2. 2. Guatemala Facts Population: 14.3 million (UN, 2010) Capital: Guatemala City Major languages: Spanish, more than 20 indigenous languages Major religion: Christianity, indigenous Mayan beliefs Life expectancy: 68 years (men), 75 years (women) (UN) Monetary unit: 1 quetzal = 100 centavos, $1USD = 7.77 quetzal*Information obtained from BBC News country profile
    3. 3. Cultural Dimensions *Geert Hofstede™ Cultural Dimensions
    4. 4. Cultural DimensionsGuatemala United States High Uncertainty  Low Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) Avoidance (UAI)  Strict  Fewer rules rules, laws, policies, and regulations  Low level of control  High control over  High Tolerance everything  Low Power Distance High Power Distance (PDI) (PDI)  High level of equality of  High level of inequality power with government of power  Cooperative interaction  High level of inequality across power levels of wealth *Geert Hofstede™ Cultural Dimensions
    5. 5. Cultural DimensionsGuatemala United States Low Individualism  High Individualism (IDV) (IDV) ranking ranking Long-term  More individualistic commitment to the attitude member group’  Loose bond with others Loyalty in a collectivist culture is vital  Populous is more self- reliant The society fosters strong relationships  Look out for themselves *Geert Hofstede™ Cultural Dimensions
    6. 6. Cultural DimensionsGuatemala United States Moderate  Moderate Masculinity Feminism(MAS)ranking (MAS) ranking Expressed in the  Boys don’t cry collectivism, nurturing in a group  Competition is Less competition encouraged among men, more affectionate  The strongest win Our research found  Money is more less to support many important than leisure of the feminist qualities time *Geert Hofstede™ Cultural Dimensions
    7. 7. FamilyGuatemala United States Value the family  Value the nuclear dynamic family dynamic Children depend on  Greater independence from their parents for parents guidance  Family members are Family members live in not expected to live in close proximity close proximity Social events are  Social events are collectivist individualistic
    8. 8. FamilyGuatemala United States Traditional family  Modern family dynamic dynamic Families care for  Elderly relatives live elderly relatives on their own or in Nursing homes Women marry young in Guatemala and  Women marry older have many children in the US and have less children It is very common for women to give birth  It is very common for at home women to give birth at a hospital
    9. 9. Education *Obtained from La Republica de Guatemala
    10. 10. EducationGuatemala United States 60% of population  English is the official speaks Spanish language 40% speak indigenous  Education system has Mayan languages instituted bilingual education Dialects are spoken in many of the rural  Education goal is to schools decrease high school drop out rate Educational goal is to become uni-lingual
    11. 11. EducationGuatemala United States Enrollment declining  Enrollment required from ages 6-18 Literacy rate is 69%  Literacy rate is 99% In rural areas, even many of those who  85% of Americans have attended graduate from high primary schools are school functionally illiterate as adults.*Encyclopedia Britannica Guatemalan Education
    12. 12. Religion Guatemala United States Historically Catholic Historically Protestant  Roman Catholic close to 50%,  Protestant 52%,  Protestant 40%, ( high  Roman Catholic 24%, growth in the last two decades)  Mormon 2%,  Jewish 1%,  Muslim 1%,••Juan Guerrero. El protestantismo y el espíritu del capitalismo. El Tiempo. 08/13/2007
    13. 13. Religion - GuatemalaMaximon/"Brother Saint SimonPeter“ :Pre-Columbian Mayan god ofthe underworld formerly knownas Maam ("grandfather"); hismodern name is a conflation ofMaam and Simon.Symbolizes:•Male sexual power•brings of rain and fertility•is "the saint of gamblers anddrunkards.“•brings wealth and worldlysuccess
    14. 14. Communication Interpersonal space:  Interpersonal space: City-dwellers often stand about an arms- stand about an arms- length length away/in the country the distance  Conflict and disagreement is is often closer. tolerated within certain limits Conflict and disagreement is  Is consider impolite avoided in ask how much conversation money each one makes or how much Obscene gesture: they paid for Putting your thumb in houses, car, etc. between your middle  Obscene gesture: and index finger Extending the middle while making a fist finger outwards
    15. 15. EconomyGuatemala Less developed country largely dependent upon traditional commercial crops such as coffee, sugar, and bananas. More than half of the citizens live below the poverty line. Informal-workers do not tend, in the medium to long term, to be absorbed by the formal sector. In 2004 women earn, in average, 519 quetzales (~$67 USD) less per month than men.*Encyclopedia Britannica,*Maria Jose Paz Antolin (2008)
    16. 16. EconomyUnited States Developed country. the world’s highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Among the greatest powers in terms of GDP per capita. The service sector accounts for more than ¾ of the country’s jobs. industrial and manufacturing trades employ less than 1/5 of the labor market.*Encyclopedia Britannica,
    17. 17. WorkGuatemala United states Networking and social  Personal credentials play connections are an important role crucial: "who you know“  Self reliance and Pride themselves on accountability are highly their cooperative valued "If you want a job nature. “Compadres” done right, do it yourself,” (Molecular structure) (atoms interacting with each other) Dignity must be maintained at all  Having doubts and times. May claim to questions is considered understand instructions normal - does not affect even when they do the personal honor. not.
    18. 18. WorkGuatemala United states Deadlines and  Agendas are usually timescales are fluid. followed quite carefully. Tend to be punctual  Unpunctuality is considered when attending a a sign of miss respect - meeting. “Time is money” Invest time in  Trained to be task establishing a oriented. “Keeping your eye relationship before on the ball” focusing on the task.  Meetings: little or no talking Meetings: social talk before getting into before getting down bussiness. to business
    19. 19. WorkGuatemala United States Autocratic managers:  Consensus is highly not seeking consensus valuated. Majority-rule is for decisions. common. Subordinates do not  Communication question managers employee-employer decisions. They may be more collegial demonstrate deference and, disagreement and respect towards within limits is those at a higher level. encouraged. High control: well  Loose control: roles can defined roles vary and overlap**
    20. 20. WorkGuatemala United states Formal / conservative  Depends on the day of dress at work. the week / industry. The use of using "tú" for  Usually people are "you" or "usted" for called by their first "you”. names. With a supervisor it is  In formal circumstances: common to use "usted" use titles and surnames followed by the person’s until you are invited to professional title. use the first name.**
    21. 21. Politics - Power Distance History of unrest and violence Young political system High Power Distance in State “You have to join  Use of offices up with the mafias  Dictatorships to be a successful  Scandals expected politician in  Resistance is dangerous Guatemala,” - Nineth Power Distance not Montenegro, huma represented n-rights  High newspaper readership campaigner and  Inconsistent leaders congresswoman.  Many political parties
    22. 22. Politics - Individualism , Femininity and Uncertainty  High Collectivism State – in the past?  State owned internet and railway but generally heading in privatization direction since 1996  History of state-private conspiring – United Fruit  Moderately Feminine State  Spending on military - Guatemala - .6%, USA 3.0% (1999)  Masculine State Characteristics  History of violent disputes  Underrepresented women  High Uncertainty Avoidance – Not evidentPolitics References: An Indictment from the Grave. May 21 ,2009, Guatemala City CASE STUDY, The Challenge of Women’s Political Participation in Guatemala, Ninth Montenegro
    23. 23. Healthcare  Profile  Large power-distance – Fewer doctors, use of nurses and volunteers for state program  Feminine Healthcare System –  10% Private  New National Comprehensive Health Care System (SIAS) Pan American Health Organization Country Health Profils References: Health Care In Maya Guatemala: Confronting Medical Pluralism in a Developing Country, Walter Randolph Adams and John P. Hawkins, Eds. 2007,Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.
    24. 24. Guatemala vs. US Healthcare Guatemala USAProportion of population with 80.3 100access to drinking water servicesProportion of deliveries attended by 84.0 99.4trained personnel (Female)Physicians per 10,000 inhabitants 9.0 27.9ratioAnnual national health expenditure 5.4 13.1as a proportion of the GDP
    25. 25. Healthcare - Indigenous Traditional vs western New health reform opinions of indigenous“where the solidarity andcomplimentarily of our Mayanancestors is substituted by individualismand competition”- Hugo Icu, medical doctor of Mayan Kakchiquelorigin
    26. 26. This is commonly used inGuatemala to…A. Ward off negative spiritsB. Increase fertilityC. Adorn a bride on her wedding day
    27. 27. These dolls are used for thefollowing purposes…A. Stop you from worryingB. No purpose, they are just for playC. Teething rings for babies
    28. 28. “Guatemala” means_________ in Mayan tongue?A. Land of the PeopleB. Land of Mother EarthC. Land of Trees
    29. 29. Guatemala invented thefirst _____ during MayantimesA. Chocolate BarB. Maiz tortillaC. Rubber Ball
    30. 30. How do you greet an elderlyMayan woman?A. Bow slightlyB. Hug and kiss on one cheekC. Grasp forearm and pat
    31. 31. What is the most importantceremonial food?A. GuavasB. TamalesC. Canillitas de leche
    32. 32. AnswersC. Adorn a bride on her wedding dayA. Stop you from worryingC. Land of the TreesA. Chocolate BarC. Grasp forearm and patB. Tamale
    33. 33. Matiox!