Brazil is the largest nation in South America. It is a well-known country and the most attractive to foreign investors in the entire continent. The country’s accomplishments and failures have been greatly shaped by its different cultures and its general geography. The country is a source of many valuable natural resources required for various business ventures. Some of these natural resources include timber, sugar, and coffee. Brazil’s culture is comprised of a combination of many different cultures such as the indigenous Indian culture, African culture, and the Portuguese culture. These diverse cultures make up the Brazillian culture that attracts many tourists to the country.Brazilians are known for their hospitable and welcoming culture. They hold many colorful and rhythmic festivals known as carnivals. Most Brazilians are Catholics. As such, many of their activities are influenced by their participation in Catholicism. Brazilians have a great sense of culture that is significantly defined by the different social classes. All the social aspects of this culture seem to revolve around these social classes. A good attitude and knowledge of the Brazilian culture are fundamental in ensuring that proper and successful business is conducted with the people of Brazil.
Brazil’s Major Elements and Dimensions of Culture
The main elements of the Brazilian culture include family, language, and relationships.
The official language of the Brazilian people is Portuguese which a majority of the citizens speak. The Portuguese language is similar to the Spanish language because of its rhythm and its romantic nature. Many other people in the world speak the language. The widespread use of the language in different places is perhaps an indication of the greatness of its reach. However, the language spoken in Brazil is different from the one spoken in Portugal in two significant ways, pronunciation and the number of words spoken.
Many of the Businessmen in Brazil have some understanding of the English language. In fact, some of them have an excellent command of the language. However, not all Brazilians speak the language. Communication among Brazilians is mainly done orally as opposed to using written means. When Brazilians send a written message, they often follow the message up with a call or a visit to make sure it is received verbally as well.
Brazilians have a constant need to show emotion. As a result, they use exaggerated body languagerepresentations. Brazilians are also fond of eye contact when they speak.
About 40% of the world’s Catholics live in Brazil (The Economist, 2013). However, Brazil is losing its catholic popularity to Evangelical Protestants and atheism as well.
Brazilians are guided by strong ethics that determine how they conduct their businesses. Unethical business ventures eventually run into issues that cannot be reversed and are forced to close down by law.
Brazil is faced with a major problem of organized crime. Organized crime affects the ability of Brazilians to conduct business and puts off international investors.
Many corruption scandals have emerged in Brazil during the presidency of Dilma Rousseff. These crimes have caused an increase in white-collar crimes and have, as a result, led to the failure of many businesses in the country
Values and attitudes
Most Brazilians are said to be intolerant of uncertainties. Several Brazilian laws and regulations are put in place to avoid these uncertainties. This culture applies to business as well. The main aim of these rules and regulations is to control and avoid the unexpected. Brazilian people do not accept drastic changes that may affect their culture. In their business culture, relationships are crucial when carrying out business. Cultivating relationships proves to be a significant step towards the achievement of successful business ventures. Brazilians tend to prefer to conduct businesses with people that they can trust. Change is greatly associated with development and progress
Brazilians are hard workers because of their involvement in agriculture and the production of raw materials. Brazil is the largest exporter of coffee in the world. It also exports other products such as soybeans, sugar, and corn (Countries and their cultures, 2013).
Brazilian attitudes towards work are different from those of Americans. Americans do not require their children to work. However, the situation is different in Brazil. Brazilian children sometimes need to work to contribute towards catering for the needs of the family. The high poverty levels in Brazil bring about this need
The concept of time- the concept of time in Brazil is flexible. It allows Brazilians to be late to many things including business meetings and social events (Cultural Understanding, 2007).
Gender- Brazil does not fully embrace the concept of gender equality. Women in Brazil do not get many opportunities of getting an education and work in corporate positions. The situation is different in the United States. Brazilian women often work as seamstresses or jewelry sellers on the streets.
Family- Brazilian families have strong bonds. Both the wife and the husband work and contribute to the family’s wellbeing. Brazilian wives do not hold many corporate jobs like American women, but they find other means of contributing to their family values.
Brazil has very high levels of individualism. Compared to other nations such as Italy, which have a level of 22, the country, has a level of 37. This means that there are long-term commitments to affiliate groups than to family members and relatives. The culture is mostly collective which means that a majority of the Brazilian people behave in a similar manner; following the same traditions and avoiding the same taboos. The nature of their Catholicism offers a great sense of belief in complete truth among the Brazilian people.
Brazilians believe in firm handshakes as well as eye contact when first meeting a person. Greetings offer the first impression for their potential business partner and allow them to have a better relationship. These manners are similar to the Americans.’
Brazil’s cuisines are a combination of different tastes because of the different cultures. Companies that manage to capture these ideas of mixed cultures in foods succeed in the country. Brazilians do not have specific ways in which they have their meals like Americans. A fork may be used for whatever reason they see fit and may be held in either hand. Americans, however, have specific rules. For instance, a fork is only held in the left hand and a knife in the right.
Social structures and organizations
Class Awareness- there is a common notion of group dominance in Brazil as well as people that recognize the existence of racial discrimination and the need for affirmative action (Bailey, 2004). Unlike America, Brazil has a smaller middle class. There is a bigger gap between the lower and the upper classes in Brazil than in the US.
Due to high rates of poverty, many people in Brazil do not receive the best quality housing. There are no garbage collection services in the country or server excesses (Countries and their cultures, 2013). The lower classes have limited chances of accessing affordable housing.
Brazilian children attend school for a minimum of eight years according to the requirements laid down by the government. However, a large percentage of the population fails to receive a proper education. School attendance in secondary schools is low, and it gets even worse when the students get to university. However, many Brazilians have basic literate skills that assist them in communication. There is also great inequality among the different groups to attain higher education (Pedrosa, 2014).
- Countries and their cultures (2013). Internet Resource.
- Milard G. H. (2015). Organized Crime in Brazil.Retrieved from Journal of Money Laundering.Internet Resource.
- Pedrosa, R. L. (2014). Access to higher education in Brazil.Widening Participation & lifelong learning.
- Trading Economics. (2012). Retrieved from Brazil Foreign Direct Investment