The culture of each country affects how the people perform certain tasks. The growth of international corporations and international trade forces decision-makers to consider how the people with whom they must deal in other countries make decisions and why. Brazil is case in point. It is a country with a very different history from our own, different social and cultural traditions, and different views of the nature of business and the nature of decision-making. These are the issues we must consider as we try to deal with the people of Brazil.
As Lane and DiStefano (1992) note, one result of not considering these questions can be culture shock, which reduces performance at least during the period of adjustment. To some extent, disorientation is natural and inevitable, but the reasons are known and can be controlled:
The normal assumptions that the manager uses in his or her home culture to interpret perceptions and to communicate intentions no longer work (Lane and DiStefano, 1992, 47).
Brazil is a gigantic country that offers startling geographic and socioeconomic contrasts. The culture is marked by the use of Portuguese as the official language, and the mixture of Portuguese and Brazilian cultures makes this area subtly different from its neighbors with their Hispanic heritage. Brazil is the largest Roman Catholic nation in the world. The nation is also made up of many immigrant groups from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including millions of Italians, Germans, Slavs, Arabs, Japanese, and others, all of whose descendants today speak Portuguese (Nyrop, 1983, xxi).
Dickenson (1982) notes that since World War II, Brazil has become less dependent on Europe through a process of economic growth and diversification. Dickenson is referring largely to economic dependence on Europe and North America here and finding that it has been reduced, but this reduction in dependence has also taken place in ...