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Brazil is among the nations that have been significantly shaped by geography and culture. Brazil being the largest nation in South America has also been the source of many of the central natural resources such as coffee, sugar and timber. The culture is a major blooming fusion of African, indigenous Indians and Portuguese influences, all of which have left a stain on Brazilian society leading to a totally distinct and wealthy culture. Brazilian culture has overtime been known of openness, hospitality and rhythmic and colorful activities such as carnival. Since Brazil predominant religion is Catholicism, many of the events are catholic influenced. The range of Brazilian culture is moreover emphasized by the prevalent class differences which filter through almost in all aspects of the society. Coming to an understanding of Brazilian society, its distinctive values and altitudes of the people will greatly help one to establish a superior relationship and carry out business more successfully with the Brazilians.
Elements and dimensions of culture in Brazil
The major elements of Brazil culture include language, family, and relationships. To begin with Portuguese is the official language spoken the Brazilians. Portuguese is a Romance language, which resembles Spanish language in some ways. The language is spoken by about 200 million people globally. There are two main differences between Portuguese spoken in Portugal and Portuguese spoken in Brazil; to start with Brazilian terms have more words; secondly, the pronunciation among the Brazilians is softer (Costa, 1995).
Family- Brazil is a socialist society which puts family at the middle of its social structure. Brazilian families tend to be large and very close, where they provide each other with connections and security. The importance of family is also seen in the Brazil business culture as relatives' members will be found working in the same businesses.
Relationship- Comparable to the importance placed on the family, Brazil people more depend on relationship with others. It is vital therefore to spend time trying to know Brazilian counterparts, both professionally and personally. By knowing the right people at the right time it will to minimize any disappointment that one may encounter when doing business in Brazil (Costa, 1995).
In Hofstede Dimension rank Uncertainty Avoidance culture values are ranked highest at 76, this indicates that the Brazilian have a low level of lenience for uncertainties. In an attempt to decreases or reduce this level of uncertainty, severe laws, policies, rules and regulations are accept and implemented (Summ & Harvey, 1995). The definitive objective of this is to direct and control everything so as to get rid of the unexpected. As an effect of this high Uncertainty Avoidance trait, the people do not easily accept change and this is vey risky in Brazil.
Brazil has a vaguely higher Individualism level of 37 compared to many of the Latin nations which have a score of 22. This is clear that there is a close long-term dedication to the affiliate 'group', than that of the immediate family or relatives. Trustworthiness in a collectivist culture is vital, and over-control most other societal policies and rules (Summ & Harvey, 1995).
In Brazil the population is predominantly Catholic. The mixtures of Catholicism, and the cultural dimensions discussed above, strengthen a philosophy that emphasize on a belief of total "truth" among the Brazilian. As Greet Hofstede explicates that people with a high level of uncertainty avoidance index altitude and motive is, "There can simply be one Truth and we all have it." (Burdick & John, 2004).
Integration of elements and dimensions by locals in conducting business in Brazil
Relationships are most vital elements in Brazilian business culture. Through cultivation or having close relationship and building up trust and confidence, locals will have a greater possibility of successful conducting business in Brazil. The strongest significance placed on the family relations in Brazil signifies that you will often find a number of family relatives working for the same organization. This is mostly imposed as many of the Brazilian would prefer conducting business with those they clearly know and have trust.
Particularism is another element that is related to many of the cultural phenomena in conducting business by the locals. General rules are not regularly adopted- the exceptional circumstances and unique framework of each of the interaction usually decide what should be done. This replicates in both the relations and in the problem solving level. Among the locals the business interaction among two parties is very unique and should be tuned towards the business partner. Through use of these cultural values, unique challenges should be addressed in accordance to the customized rules.
As in other nations with high uncertainty avoidance and power distance levels, a common Brazilian organization is a structure of power- an organizational form which is characterized by centralized power and decision making where the management and other organizational levels interaction has to do with power management and relationships. All this interaction greatly influences how the locals interact and conduct business in Brazil.
Comparison between the United States and Brazil culture and business.
There exist many differences between United States and Brazil in terms of their culture and the way the carry out business. These differences can be compared from the hofstede's taxonomy. The first comparable dimension is the power distance. According to xxxxx power distance is the level at which culture considers that organizational and institutional leadership should be distributed unevenly and the decisions of the leaders should be challenged. Brazil has a superior belief in power distance than the United States. Among the Brazilians there exists a great power distance, which signify that they believe that each individual has a place in social chain, and that the leadership should not be challenged, that social chain and disparity are appropriate and they actually profit the society (Norton, 1999). They also suppose that those whom have social class have the fundamental right to use their power in any manner they consider desirable. On the other side United States people have a low favorite toward power distance.
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People in the United States believe in the weight of reducing disparities with the social classes, challenging those in authority, reducing chain structures within organization and applying power for only the reason that one can legitimize (Norton, 1999). Since the U.S culture is very diverse from the Brazil in regard to their power distance I believe it would of great importance of one who is willing to carry business in Brazil to understand the concept of power distance among the Brazilians as this would promote transition and competency in communicating.
Secondly there exist differences between Brazilian outlook of uncertainty avoidance and the U.S. Koester & lusting (2006) states that uncertainty avoidance is evaluated by the extent the people culture feels endangered by uncertain, indefinite situations and tries to stay away from them by establishing more chains or structures. In the nation of Brazil the people prefer avoiding uncertainties while in U.S they do not shun away from uncertainties. Also in the culture of Brazilian since people have low tolerance of uncertainty they will try to regulate a low level of certainty through using "a broad set of rules and customs" while culture in U.S tends to have a high degree tolerance of uncertainty (Jackson, 1999). Though there is a huge difference between the Brazil and United States culture in regards to their tolerance, on my opinion I do not think it would have much impact to a visitor coming to Brazil from United States as people do not have to deal with rituals or government since people who visit or live there tend to stay for a long time. For instance people from United States who decide to live there for a long term, I totally believe it would take some time for them getting used to and calming the rebel ways.
The next dimension of comparison is the culture degree or level in which they depend on commitment to individuals or group, also known as individualism vs. collectivism. Brazil normally favors collectivism, while U.S favors individualism. This entirely means Brazilians are on the support of individual obligation to the group such as institutions and organizations, and they greatly lay importance on belongings (Jackson, 1999). The united states culture vary from this, since they are more individualistic and distinctive, and are of the view that people should not get worried of the group very much but just themselves and their immediate relatives.
Another comparable dimension is the femininity vs. masculinity culture dimensions. This form of cultural dimension measures the degree or level to which a cultural values such as social behaviors, boldness and the attainment of wealth impact quality of life. Brazil are for the choice the masculinity dimension which signify that they believe less in external attainments and more on the significance of life choices that in turn improves inherent aspects on regards to quality of life (Harris & Marvin, 2000). In Brazil the have a balanced equality and fairness between genders such as less stipulated responsibilities behaviors that are related to gender. The United States is relatively different in that they favor masculinity dimension. The United States places more stress on ambitions and achievements, and their success in outlining the right material goods. The U.S also has definite prescriptions on gender responsibilities, however less than many of other cultures.
The last comparable aspect in hofstede's taxonomy is the cultural value direction of time, in regards long-term and short-term. This aspect refers to how an individual sees time in connection to work and life. Cultures that highly prefer long-term orientation their focus is more on the long-term achievements such as Brazil culture, whereas culture such as that of United States have the preference of the short-term orientation as the more focus on short- term achievements (Harris & Marvin, 2000). In Brazil they have a respect for customs and traditions and the have a strong support work ethnics where their long-term benefits are anticipated for today's work. These forms of differences can cause problems with communication between the United States and Brazil which can only be sorted out by understanding the differences.
Communication is another element that plays a very important role in a culture, because not does it assist in establishing a culture, but it also assists in maintaining the culture (xxxxxx). Verbal communication is expressed through symbols, codes that are regulated by a set of rules that control the order in which they go in and what the exactly mean. There are various verbal communication norms that should be taken into consideration when outlining the differences between cultures, such as organizing and expressing ideas, conversational of business language, and turn- taking expectations. In Brazil the communication style is very vibrant habitually considered noisy (Silverstein & Leni, 1995). It is very common for everyone to seem as if they are speaking at once. Interruption of people in conversation is very common among the parties. In United States many people are usually affronted by this behavior of the Brazilians as they consider it to be impolite and rude, but among the Brazilian no one is affronted.
Another element of Brazil communication that is different from U.S is that they are very enticing when conversing; however they do not exactly mean what they say. In Brazil the topics in communication tend to be extensive and the original theme tends to drift away to various topics. Many of the conversational topics are generally accepted, however many of the humiliating topics such as topics on crime, politics and corruption are normally avoided. The conversation topics accepted and avoided are alike to the people of U.S, since some of these issues can bring out very delicate sensitive issues, mainly politics.
Implications for US businesses that wish to conduct business in the Brazilian Regions
It seems that they are many differences in the U.S and Brazilian culture. It may take sometime for the United States business people to adjust to Brazilian culture before completely accepting it. By understanding the culture, I believe it helps one to be more competent intellectually on the maters pertaining achieving success in business than just flying to Brazil without the prior knowledge of the religion. Consequently I believe that the transition from U.S culture to Brazilian culture might be greatly helped by knowing a person from Brazil who will help incase of any questions that may result. For any person from United States who many wish to conduct business in Brazil should understand that the transition process is not that easy.
Identify and analyze strategies to preserve Brazilian customs and traditions during its emergence into an economic superpower.
Brazil's exclusive cultural tradition and heritage has been greatly impacted by a range of diverse cultures and population. First occupied by indigenous tribes over 7,500 years ago, Brazil was a colony of Portuguese in the early 16th century after Europeans discovery. In the year 1822, Brazil attained independence and from then there have been exponential rise in population as various and diverse people from the world settled there. From the time in memorial Brazil has been a agricultural based economy, it is known for its large production in beef, sugar, coffee, orange juice and cocoa. Consequently Brazil has a very strong service and industry sectors which have geared its economy growth and development over the last century.
Within the last decade Brazil has significantly opened its economy to foreign investors and diverse markets making it to be among the top ten economies in the world. Renowned as the largest economy in the Latin America, Brazil has also gained from its rank as it has found its way to the profitable mercosur market. A diversified economy with distinctive culture make doing business in Brazil a stimulating but often challenging venture. Understanding Brazilian business culture and manners is very vital for any successful doing business in Brazil.
Establishment of carnivals in Brazil significantly influenced the preservation of customs and traditions during its emergence to economic superpower. Rio carnival, a recognized cultural and customs masterpiece owe its originality to the orientation of Christianity after Europeans arrival. From then Brazilians have transformed the carnival into a reserved and cheerful celebration of personal displays and colors (DaMatta, 1991).
Though many forms of its festivity and celebration that tend to preserve the Brazilian culture, the way of life may superficially appear African or European. Brazil has greatly struggled to preserve the rich and wealthy indigenous unique cultures as they were centuries ago. At the time when Europeans settled the Brazil land had many tribes with distinct customs, language and traditions. Some of this forms of tribes were misplaced, remaining now are the links to the nation vibrant time back hundreds back years. At the time Brazil emerged to be an economic superpower there were around 220 different aboriginal societies, who used to speak as many as 170 different languages. This is among the cultural diversity that greatly influenced Brazil economy (Krug, 2003).