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Revista mexicana de ciencias agrícolas

versão impressa ISSN 2007-0934

Rev. Mex. Cienc. Agríc vol.8 no.4 Texcoco Jun./Jul. 2017 

Investigation notes

Existence and survival of the rural family textile micro-enterprise of San Rafael Ixtapalucan, Puebla, Mexico

María Guadalupe Soriano-Hernández1 

Oliverio Hernández-Romero2  § 

1Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México. Camino viejo a Jilotzingo continuación calle rayón. Valle Hermoso, Zumpango, México. CP. 55600. Tel. 01(591) 9172702 (

2Colegio de Postgraduados-Campus Montecillos. Carretera Federal México Texcoco, km 36.5. Montecillo, Texcoco, México. CP. 56230. Tel. 01(595) 9520200.


Each family is different and therefore the needs both individual and collective are also different in nature; among them the basis for the existence and survival of the San Rafael Ixtapalucan Rural Family Microenterprise can be found, which emerges with an entrepreneur initiative based on a business idea whose incidence in the market is low. The objective is to determine if the human needs of the family group are linked to the existence and survival of the rural family textile micro-enterprise (MEFRT). Results show that MEFRT is a viable strategy for the satisfaction of the basic needs of the family group, however, it also shows that it is an entity that has serious difficulties regarding its survival.

Keywords: family; family microenterprise; human needs; satisfactory


Cada familia es diferente y por lo tanto las necesidades tanto individuales como colectivas son de diferente índole; en ellas podemos encontrar el fundamento para la existencia y la pervivencia de la Microempresa Familiar Rural Textil de San Rafael Ixtapalucan, que surge con la iniciativa de un emprendedor a partir de una idea de negocio, cuya incidencia en el mercado es baja. El objetivo es determinar si las necesidades del grupo familiar están ligadas a la existencia y pervivencia de la microempresa familiar rural textil (MEFRT). Los resultados muestran que la MEFRT es una estrategia viable para la satisfacción de las necesidades básicas del grupo familiar; sin embargo, también muestra que es una entidad que se encuentra en dificultades respecto a su pervivencia.

Palabras clave: familia; microempresa familiar; necesidades humanas; satisfactorios

From the perspective of survival strategies Oliveira (1999) conceptualizes the family as “active agents whose members carry out actions in favor of the reproduction of the domestic group.The reproduction concept includes in this case different domains of family life: daily and generational support and the establishment of social relations”.

From the second decade of the twentieth century and what goes of the XXI great changes and economic and social transformations are generated in the national and international spheres, the structure, functions, operational dynamics and the organizational forms of the family have undergone extensive modifications. Among the most significant changes that modernization has brought is the transition from the traditional community, predominantly agrarian into a capitalist industrial and service society, which basis is the industrialization process, this has produced far-reaching changes in the family, their culture, their way of organizing at work and therefore their economy. In this context and to ensure their subsistence, the family has generated diverse strategies aimed at achieving their subsistence. Among these strategies is starting a business that as it progresses it requires the insertion of some family members, thus becoming a family microenterprise.

This study originates from the question about whether the existence and survival of the San Rafael Ixtapalucan Rural Family Textile Micreomprises is intimately linked to the satisfaction of the human needs of the family group? In order to answer this question, it is prioritized to determine whether the human needs of the family group are linked to the existence and survival of the MEF.

The community of San Rafael Ixtapaluca (SRI) is located in the Municipality of Santa Rita Tlahuapan, Puebla, is placed in a rural context, since the services that supply the community are limited, although the locality counts approximately 4 379 habitants.The inhabitants of the locality pass between the primary sector and the secondary sector and are recognized in the region by both activities, since there are textile workshops in the region and in them the residents of the community are employed, without giving up to the agricultural activity.

Regarding the textile sector, there were more than 100 textile workshops between the 80’s and 90’s, the central activity is the production of socks, stockings, ankle socks and crew socks from the knitting technique.The workshops are family-owned, are mostly made up of extended families, with the head of the family as the leader decision maker, occasionally the wife participates in the administration and therefore in the decision making, so they are considered family microenterprises.

Currently there are around 40 MEFRT and six family businesses. MEFRT operate independently of the formality, since they have not been registered with the Tax Administration Service (SAT). Nowadays they place their production in the tianguis, for which the merchandise is offered to the people who already have a stand in the markets on wheels, the strongest point of sale for the majority of the microentrepreneurs is in the tianguis of San Martín Texmelucan, and only few have managed to place their product in other areas such as D.F., Toluca and Chiapas. Within the described context, the analysis of family microenterprises was carried out through non-experimental and descriptive research from a qualitative perspective. The information was obtained from semi-structured interviews, which were applied to sock micro-enterprises in the locality of San Rafael Ixtapalucan.

Within the results, the support of the approach proposed by Chayanov (1974), allows to analyze the peasant family and its logic of social reproduction, that analysis allowed the understanding of the peasant economy and therefore to the family reproduction and their organizational mode. Within the peasant economy, Chayanov (1974) considered the concept of the work-consumption balance, which reveals the effort that is made to obtain a good destined for consumption, where the peasant does not operate in order to obtain profits from the production, since it would work more for less consumption in the short term. The peasant economy is developed in family type units, whose objective is to ensure the living and working conditions for the family. Productive peasant management is different from that which characterizes agriculture business since it is based on a rationality of its own, oriented mainly to self-consumption.

The family micro-enterprise can be visualized from two areas, the capitalist and the peasant, each one of them is oriented towards different ends, when it is oriented towards the capitalist view the main motor is the profit making, when it is oriented towards the peasant side, the main purpose is subsistence, therefore we can talk about a peasant economy or subsistence economy, in this area the issue is not profit making, but to ensure family consumption and clothing (Sumpsi, 2007).

The family microenterprise arises with the initiative of an entrepreneur from a business idea, whose incidence in the market is low. The entrepreneur is the owner and the manager of MEFRT, usually at the beginning of its operations and due to the investment restrictions, does not have employees so it is required that the family get involved in the operational issue, in this way MEFRT may be considered as a viable alternative to self-employment for family members. Reis (1992) observed that the local is in a sense the other side of the globalization of productive strategies within the framework of the international division of labor. The local is a space with capacity, always particular for each case, of supply and initiative, such as the complementarity strategies present in family economies.

Soto (2011) analyzes the art state of family business in Mexico and in his research reflects that the notion of family business lacks consensus despite the fact that the researchers have a pronounced preference for retaking the model proposed by Tagiuri and Davis (1982) at the beginning of the eighties which is based on the interconnection of three subsystems: property, family and business. These three subsystems have a direct influence on the organization and performance of the family business.

The nodal point in a family microenterprise is the family and each family is different both qualitatively and quantitatively, so that their immersion in the business field gives them another connotation, that is, each family that runs a family microenterprise is not a common family and the results generated within it depend on the synergy level that members are able to generate. Family business have a direct impact on our country’s economy, since it represents a fundamental part in the generation of jobs and therefore in the gross domestic product in the 4th quarter of 2014, the GDP in Mexico amounted to 14 305 135.31 (millions of pesos at 2008 prices). INEGI (2014), which according to Pavón (2010) amounts to 52% in Mexico. In this respect, the DENUE (2014) reports a total of 4 926 061 economic units, of which 99% are micro, small and medium-sized enterprises whose types are integrated into the sectors of industry, commerce and services. The manufacturing industry and the garment industry represent 17.5% of the gross domestic product in 2012 and has a 11.9% share of the employed population.

The rural family in Mexico has a vertical hierarchical structure, where the authority is held by the father (or the mother in the absence of the father), then the power corresponds to the eldest children and thirdly the power corresponds to the minor children. The activities deployed in the domestic sphere fulfill a dual function, of daily maintenance and transmission from one generation to another of ideological aspects that underlie basic social distances (De Oliveira and Salles 1989).

In rural areas it is important to consider people within the framework of their family relationships and needs, since within the family the individual acquires a central importance as a labor force (mostly unpaid). Rural households in order to meet their subsistence needs have had to cope with the critical labor market situation in these areas, where there has been a notable decline in the importance of agriculture, an increase in income linked to self-employment and a sustained growth in the importance of non-agricultural occupations, all of them valid strategies to meet their needs both individual and group. Hellriegel and Slocum (1998), define need as the “personal sense of lack in some aspect of a person’s life that produces unpleasant tension” and analyze Maslow’s motivation theory, which focuses on the hierarchy model of needs. Maslow argues that the individual has five categories of needs: physiological needs (at the base), security needs, affiliation needs, self-esteem needs, and self-realization needs (at the tip of the pyramid).

Alderfer (1998) considers the motivation from the perspective of a hierarchy of needs, the model consists of three categories: the needs of existence, relationship needs and growth needs. The first refer to physical and material well-being (air, water, shelter, work, etc.), the second are established through relationships with other individuals (family, friends and co-workers). The last are the desire to be creative and have opportunities for personal development. This model is based on the frustration regression hypothesis that when individuals see the satisfaction of higher level needs frustrated, the needs of the immediately lower level are re-imposed on them.

Maslow’s theory is rooted in four basic assumptions: 1) a satisfied need is not a motivating factor; once a need is satisfied, another will arise in its place; 2) a complex network of individual needs; 3) basic needs must be met first and then higher level ones, physical survival and personal autonomy are the basic needs of the individual, and must be satisfied to be the initiators of achieving other individual and social objectives; and 4) the means to meet higher level needs are greater than those with which lower level needs are met.

McClelland (1998), postulates a theory of motivation, which refers that people acquire three needs or motivations: of achievement, affiliation and power, through interaction with their social environment. Achievement needs relate to being successful in competitive situations. Affiliation needs refer to a person’s desire to develop and maintain close interpersonal relationships with others. Power needs are concentrated on an individual’s desire to influence, and control others and the social environment. The analysis of the previous classifications allows to establish that the individuals first seek their survival which is achieved when the physiological and safety needs arising in a specific period are covered; that is, the person from a lack takes different alternatives of actions that contribute to the achievement of their physical well-being, after the assurance of this welfare, is then interested in social needs.

According to theory Max (1993), economics designed by economists has taken on great importance; however its great abstractions (GNP, GDP, etc.). Consciousness: the total image of a given object that is integrated by a general conception of it (Niño, 2015) are selective and discriminatory when referring to the mass of human beings (Max-Neef) the system of fundamental human needs is formed by three subsystems: a) needs; b) satisfactors; and c) goods, which interact with each other. The connector system is consciousness and it has space-time limitations, so that the needs subsystem is permanent and remains unchanged, consisting of the basic needs which are rare and finite and therefore identifiable and classifiable but with an universal character for humans, although immaterial, or process, in its form of existence. The subsystem of the satisfiers show changes, since it is in function of the culture, therefore each individual will look for a way to satisfy the necessity from what their surroundings offer. The subsystem of goods corresponds to the material dimensions of culture and is the one that undergoes major transformations in the type of society in which we live.

The family group is an association whose common purpose is survival and the quality that distinguishes it is the associativity among its members. The collective consciousness allows all of us to relate with the same object, if we all have the same culture then we will see things in a similar way. Family is united by a natural bond and is physiologically called consanguinity.That is to say, the members of the family are united by blood ties, the ties are not something decided in advance, but given by nature; however, the social education of the citizens has its foundation in the values instituted by the family and is completed by the social field.

The family diversifies its activities to meet the basic needs of its members and a form of diversification is the entrepreneurship of a business that can ensure the entry of feasible income. It is in the interest of survival that the individual personally or jointly establish viable strategies to survive and therefore from innovation and creativity undertakes from an idea that subsequently and with the integration of family members becomes a microenterprise.


The MEFRT are a viable strategy that the residents of the SRI community have established, certainly a strategy of convenience for family subsistence, so their existence and survival is intimately linked to the existence of the family group. The kinship relationship among the members of the microenterprise is one of its main strengths. Values, beliefs and norms from the family environment are shared within the organization, so each microenterprise therefore has a different value system and this will generate a competitive advantage.

Every family is integrated with elements that are based on their own individual characteristics and their own needs, when the members come together, collective needs arise, so the family will work on the basis of solving both types of needs, for which it will tend to diversify its actions, sometimes the family group will remain physically united, other times the union will be of a moral type since it can not be physically achieved due to migration of some members, a situation that is more common in the rural environment. A family strategy based on meeting the needs of the family group, especially the need for subsistence that is directly related to basic needs, is the creation of microenterprises directed, controlled and cared for by the family itself, which is an strategy that allows the subsistence of the family group, since it is an income generator that can cover physiological needs of the members.

The sock’s production and marketing has been inserted within an informal framework, a situation that limits the growth and competitiveness of the product, since for not being included in the fiscal area, they lose the opportunity to sell to formal companies and the recognition of their product is achieved only in the region. The family microenterprise has been installed inside the houses of the producers, and it is relevant to consider that housing is a key element in the quality of life of the family as it affects directly the development of its members and that the modifications necessary for obtaining income that supports the family economy in rural areas makes it a means of working, so some areas are sacrificed in response to productive functions and thus ends up in overcrowding which demerits the quality of the family home.

The expenses and investments that have to be made in order to achieve the sock’s production are on the rise, this increase in the prices of raw materials must be absorbed by the producer, given the impossibility of increasing the sock’s price, because in case of doing it, a competitive price disadvantage is generated that would directly affect the sale of the national socks in relation to imported socks. The MEFRT of SRI work from an organization based on the family structure, usually in the extended family order, this feature allows a significant saving in social welfare, since for being familiar, the social security requirement is not presented; however, it is generated an important vulnerability that can end in a decapitalization in relation to the assets that the family has, because in order to face the costs of a health emergency of any member, it would have to be with their own money.

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Received: February 2017; Accepted: March 2017

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