Academic journal article Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies

"Yo Tengo la Camiseta (I Have the Shirt On)": An Exploration of Job Satisfaction and Commitment among Workers in Mexico

Academic journal article Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies

"Yo Tengo la Camiseta (I Have the Shirt On)": An Exploration of Job Satisfaction and Commitment among Workers in Mexico

Article excerpt

One major challenge faced by expatriate managers is developing reasonable levels of worker commitment and satisfaction among host nation employees. This study adds to the growing knowledge base regarding worker motivation, commitment, satisfaction, and company image among automotive workers in Mexico. This paper uses a longitudinal MTMM methodology to verify attributes of job attitudes surrounding satisfaction and commitment thereby expanding the methodology and interpretation of prior research. Questionnaire, interview, and observational data collected over a 42-month period were used to uncover previously unexplored components to commitment and job satisfaction among Mexican workers. Results of our analyses indicated that work satisfaction, supervision, coworker relationships, pay, and promotion potential were predictive of overall job satisfaction. Also predictive of overall job satisfaction were supervisor conduct, and perception of company financial and social status. Behavioral affective, and continuance commitment were predicted by sex, education, directive conduct, organizational status, and satisfaction with supervision. The traditional positive relationship between job commitment and job satisfaction was not supported.


There is an increasing emphasis being placed on efficiency and cost reduction in manufacturing processes. In order to cut costs, companies frequently transfer their manufacturing processes to more efficient production economies like Mexico where the business environment offers lower general costs for labor, land, plant and equipment. According to the Directory of American Firms Operating in Foreign Countries (2002) the number of U.S. firms operating in Mexico has grown each year, with the trend for firms to establish operations in multiple locations, away from maquiladora regions. Maquiladora regions, regions along the US border where Mexican firms produce goods almost entirely for North American export, are experiencing increases in cost structures, resulting from higher wage demands, higher costs of living, increased crime, and increasing social problems. Because of these rising costs, it is important that managers develop their expertise in managing the Mexican workforce in the less expensive regions further away from the border in rural areas or cities like Puebla, Mexico City, Queretaro, or San Luis Potosi.

The purpose of this paper is to help managers formulate an understanding of how workers in Mexico develop work-related attitudes. By developing this understanding managers can leverage their ability to engender worker satisfaction and commitment and therefore generate increased quality and labor efficiency while securing robust motivation among Mexican factory workers. With these objectives in mind, we will examine the components of commitment and job satisfaction among Mexican workers and their perceptions of what constitutes effective leadership, and more explicitly, what the role of working for a "good company" does for Mexican worker motivation.

The research methodology for this study is both longitudinal and multi-method. Questionnaire, interview, and observational data were collected over a 42-month period. Back translated, standardized focus-validated questionnaires were utilized. Non-company and company-employed translators were employed in order to accurately translate worker's statements, their emotive content, and job context. Researcher and company-employed observers were utilized to look for job behaviors during multiple shifts. The objective of this MTMM methodology was to gain depth of understanding, while adding to the literature the much broader methodology that would be needed for organizational behavior scholars to develop the international micro-level organizational behavior content area.

The international organizational behavior literature suggests that we can better develop our understanding of human resources management in host countries (Steers, Porter and Bigley, 1996; Adler, 1997; Smith, 1992; Francesco and Gold, 1998). …

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