segunda-feira, 12 de outubro de 2009

The Brazilian Way of Working

By Rosângela Portella & Simone Costa Eriksson
October 7, 2009

At first sight, Brazilian culture can easily be seen as one. However, the complexity of the cultural aspects involved makes it difficult for most expatriates to pinpoint the direct cultural origin of typical social behaviors. Let‘s take, for instance, the tendency to mix up professional and social relationships at the workplace, and try to explain this common behavior which can often challenge foreign professionals‘ doing business in Brazil. As a Swedish executive once told me ´Brazilians at work usually value how friendly they are with someone than how professional that person is´; in other words, relationships are extremely important compared to other cultures. Our attempt to explain such behavior must explore the unique aspects of Brazilian culture.

Brazil´s geographic dimensions, its multiethnic origins, as well as its educational and social-economic history contribute to the diversity found within this continental-sized country. To show how complex Brazilian culture is, we could draw a sort of ‘Brazilian Cultural Matrix‘. On one axis there would be 3 main cultural aspects: ethnic, regional, and social-educational classes. To make things even more complicated, each of these cultural aspects would be further divided: the ethnic aspect, for example, could be explored by the two main waves of immigration which had major influence in Brazilian culture: the first wave would be the Portuguese and Africans (who met the Indians already here!) as being the first ethnic mix, the basis of Brazilian culture, followed by the three unique mixes between these three main ethnic groups, the ‘mulatos‘, ‘caboclos‘, e ´mamelucos´. The second wave of immigration occurred in the 19th century with the Europeans (mostly Germans & Italians) and, from the beginning of the 20th century, the Japanese. Recently, there has even been an increase in immigration from other Latin America countries.

So, how can the Brazilian ethnic origin explain the social behavior of favoring relationships at work? In the Iberian region of Europe (Portugal & Spain) in the 15th and 16th century, as opposed to the French and English, the major traders, and navigators, while they were away conquering new lands always left their business in the hands of trustful family members. There was even a saying ´Friends get everything, while enemies follow the Law´. All the money and social status achieved by this new bourgeoisie class allowed them to buy social titles (and marriages) in order to move up the social ladder into the aristocracy and noble classes. The Portuguese cultural characteristic of mixing between the public and private, business and friendship remained. In order for foreign professionals to succeed and lead in a typical Brazilian working environment, they must understand and deal with the fragile borderline between the private and professional work relationships.

Source: Gringoes

Um comentário:

  1. Boa tarde,

    trabalho na Full Haus Comunicação e tenho um cliente que faz legalizaçao de estrangeiros no Brasil. Acompanhamos seu blog, inclusive o cliente possui um blog, e gostaria de saber se voces teriam interesse em fazer uma parceria conosco.

    Se positivo, deixo meus contatos:

    Livia Cretaz
    Tel.: (11) 3895-1419