Take a few minutes over this morning's café con leche to learn about the beautiful country of Costa Rica. Let's explore some common cultural facts about Costa Ricans and their expectations when it comes to training and development.
Pop Quiz (no Googling the answer):
- True or False? Costa Rica means "Rich Coast."
- True or False? Costa Rica is the wealthiest country in Central America.
Quick Tips for Training & Development in Costa Rica1:
- Costa Ricans often refer to themselves as Ticos, a name based on their tendency to add tico to the end of words to imply fondness.
- English is commonly spoken in business settings, but translating materials into Spanish is still the preference. Spanish is the official language, but a small percentage of people also speak Caribbean Creole English and a handful of local dialects.
- As is common in many Latin American cultures, Costa Ricans interpret facts through feelings and may use their faith (86% are Catholic) as the foundation of truth.
- More than citizens of many other countries, Costa Ricans believe in the value and equality of all people and emphasize the dignity of work independent of social class.
- Many Costa Ricans exhibit a strong sense of group responsibility and favoritism toward family and close relationships.
- Sociologists describe Costa Ricans as being high in uncertainty avoidance. They rely on strict rules to limit risk and avoid change and conflict when possible. To keep from losing face, Ticos may provide indirect answers rather than offer a less-than-preferable response.
- Decisions are made by group consensus, so be sure to allow additional time for these discussions and deliberations.
- Timelines and deadlines are seen as suggestions rather than hard dates, causing late payments to be a common occurrence. Be tolerant of and anticipate delays.
Pop Quiz Answers:
- False. Panama is the wealthiest nation in Central America.
1Morrison, Terri, & Conaway, Wayne A. (2006). Kiss, bow, or shake hands (2nd ed.). Avon: Adams Media.