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BRAZIL


BRAZIL Business Culture (2nd ed.) Historical Notes............................................................................................................................................1 Greetings and Courtesies ..............................................................................................................................2 Business Ethic and Framework ......................................................................................................................2 Decision Making ...........................................................................................................................................2 Time and Punctuality....................................................................................................................................3 General Attitudes Toward Time ..................................................................................................................3 Business Engagements ..............................................................................................................................3 Social Engagements ..................................................................................................................................3 Meetings......................................................................................................................................................3 Business Entertaining ...................................................................................................................................4 Gift Giving ...................................................................................................................................................5 Women in Business ......................................................................................................................................6 Business Attire .............................................................................................................................................7 Business Advisory: Politics and Graft .............................................................................................................7 Business Advisory: Fraud ..............................................................................................................................7 Cultural Considerations for Women ...............................................................................................................8 Business Workweek......................................................................................................................................9

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Business Culture

Brazil

BRAZIL Business Culture Historical Notes

Amazonian women

When the Portuguese explorer Cabral arrived in 1500, the native population was quite diverse, and an estimated two to five million natives lived in the territory that is now Brazil. However, colonial sugarcane plantations in Brazil and the Caribbean relied upon native slave labor, and soon Brazil's greatest source of income was the capture and sale of slaves. Slavers searching for new captives expanded Brazil's boundaries to the peaks of the Andes. During the 17th century, African slaves replaced the Brazilian natives. After 1888, when slavery was abolished, coffee became Brazil's biggest cash crop. Labor needs for coffee plantations brought thousands of Italian immigrants to Brazil in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Two days before Napoleon's 1808 capture of Lisbon in Portugal, the Portuguese prince regent escaped to Brazil. Rio de Janeiro was declared the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarve, and Brazil became the only New World colony personally ruled by a European monarch. When the prince regent returned to Portugal in 1821, he left his son, Dom Pedro I, in charge. A year later, Dom Pedro I declared Brazil's independence, and Portugal acquiesced. The abolition of slavery in 1888 brought on a military coup led by coffee planters and Dom Pedro II was deposed. A series of dictators and military-backed presidents ruled until the new constitutional elections of 1989. The ex-karate champion, Fernando Collor de Mello, was elected president and he immediately shifted government revenues from public projects into his supporter's pockets. De Mello was forced to resign in 1992 and his vice-president, Itamar Franco, peacefully assumed the presidency. Franco's finance minister, Fernando Cardoso, implemented a series of successful economic reforms and was elected president in 1995. Despite a 1996 United Nations study that showed Brazil had the world's most unequal distribution of wealth, Cardoso was re-elected in 1998.

National Congress building, Brasilia

The Cardoso government legislated numerous "belt-tightening" policies that put Brazil on the path to a stable, if austere, turn-of-thecentury. As elections approached at the end of 2002, however, the nation showed that it had grown tired of enforced austerity and voted out the Cardoso regime. It was replaced by the Labor Party headed by reformed socialist Lula Da Silva. By 2006, most of the socialist land reform plans of Da Silva had been displaced by economic realities and his government was rocked by scandals in 2005. A wary Da Silva held out until June 2006 to announce his re-election bid for the October 2006 elections.

Š Copyright 1993-2011 by World Trade Press. All Rights Reserved. www.WorldTradePress.com • www.BestCountryReports.com

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Business Culture

Brazil

Greetings and Courtesies Portuguese-speaking Brazilians are generally less formal than their Spanish-speaking Latin neighbors. Brazilians of both sexes shake hands upon meeting and when departing. Men's handshakes tend to be prolonged by most standards, especially when first introduced. Women friends touch alternate cheeks in a "kiss" (married women kiss twice, while a single woman receives a third kiss). In business, men are addressed as "senhor" plus their surname (women as "senhora" plus the surname). Brazilians use "senhor" or "senhora" when addressing elderly people directly. When referring to them, however, they will use "Seu" and "Dona" plus first name. Brazilians often move rapidly to first names, often used with a title or honorific (such as Doutor-Dr.-Fernando) for professionals. Business cards (either in your language or Portuguese) are a necessity. Say goodbye to everyone individually when leaving.

Business Ethic and Framework

Presidential guards in Brasilia.

Brazil has a close knit "old-boy" network that functions both nationwide and regionally. Many top Brazilian executives are Masons, for example. Regionally, the elite belongs to the same clubs and eats at the same restaurants. Their wives go to the same hairdressers and shop at the same boutiques. Social status and race are very important. The office environment, from managers on up, is largely a white male domain. Few blacks or women hold top executive spots (or, for that matter, top government or university positions). Don't be misled by the Brazilians' laid-back attitude. They are shrewd businessmen who want to establish long-term relationships. Approach them as equals. Listen carefully to your counterpart, and don't attempt to second-guess him. Brazilians deeply resent being patronized, and you can lose a battle instantly if you seem to be questioning a person's intelligence or background. Above all, be patient. Negotiations and decisions always take much longer than you think they will. Remember that Brasilia wasn't built in a day.

Decision Making

Office building in Sao Paulo.

Although middle-level managers may be responsible for implementing decisions, actual decisions are almost always made at a high level of authority. While you should approach senior people, Brazilians will want to know your standing within the hierarchy and will wish to match you with someone of similar rank, while only their senior people will actually be able to approve agreements. Nevertheless, it is important to cultivate personal relationships with these peers, because the quality of these relationships may strongly influence the actual decision maker even when your immediate counterpart is not the one making the decision.

Š Copyright 1993-2011 by World Trade Press. All Rights Reserved. www.WorldTradePress.com • www.BestCountryReports.com

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Business Culture

Brazil

Time and Punctuality General Attitudes Toward Time Brazil is a big country and you may notice a marked difference in attitudes towards time and punctuality depending on your location. In Sao Paulo, people are more formal and the rules of punctuality are more likely to be observed. In the north, however, i.e. Brasilia, the intensely hot climate makes the pace of life slower and punctuality seems a little less critical. Throughout Brazil, though, transportation and cultural issues make the Brazilian attitude towards time more relaxed or fluid than in the U.S. or Europe.

Business Engagements For business appointments, whether with an individual or a group, it’s best to arrive on time—foreigners are expected to be punctual. However, once you arrive, your Brazilian counterparts may take another 10 or 15 minutes to appear. Even then, prepare to wait another 20 minutes for a meeting to actually start. Filling in this time with paperwork or by using your laptop is acceptable; the same applies to meetings with government officials or functionaries. In case of a business lunch or dinner in a restaurant, take special care to arrive on time, as punctuality is expected from everyone in these situations. When scheduling, leave two to three hours of extra time between meetings. This will allow for traffic, which is chaotic at best throughout Brazil, as well as for the necessary small talk that takes place before and after Brazilian meetings. Getting right down to business and leaving immediately when the discussion is over are both considered rude, so allow for extra time. For particularly important meetings , consider scheduling only one per day. Expect delays with production and service deadlines as well. In Brazilian culture, time is often marked as a sequence of events rather than by a clock or calendar, so end dates are not always seen as critical.

Social Engagements Most Brazilian social functions take place in restaurants or clubs. For a social dinner at someone’s home, however, it’s acceptable to arrive 30 minutes late. For parties, usually not in private homes, arriving 15 minutes late is usual. In cases where you are doing the inviting, expect your guests to arrive late, and never put an end time on a dinner or party invitation.

Meetings

Most Brazilians feel the notion of time is somewhat arbitrary.

Contacts and introductions are important. If you do not have a mutual business acquaintance to make introductions, consult your embassy for a referral. Make appointments at least two weeks in advance. Do not try to schedule too many meetings: you are almost sure to be kept waiting for anywhere from 15 minutes to more than an hour--although you should be on time. Meetings are often interrupted and do not end abruptly. Be aware that Brazilians use a 24-hour clock, so 5p.m. becomes 1700 hours. Also, most Brazilians feel the notion of time is somewhat arbitrary. Expect them to be late for a meeting, with traffic often mentioned as the cause for lateness. There is often truth in this statement. Rains frequently flood the roadways and back-ups stretch for miles. The wise business traveler allows his own schedule to be quite flexible while in Brazil. For example, schedule meetings far enough apart that time and events can flow at the Brazilian pace. Have leeway to make sure you aren't late for the next meeting--which is considered impolite. After formal introductions, where a person's title and rank is emphasized, Brazilians quickly shift to a first-name basis. There is a practical reason for this. So many people in the country share common last names (such as Silva or Sousa) that they are better known by their first name or nickname. In smaller towns and communities, people are even listed in the phone book by their first names.

© Copyright 1993-2011 by World Trade Press. All Rights Reserved. www.WorldTradePress.com • www.BestCountryReports.com

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Business Culture

Brazil

Business Entertaining

Meals are a time for socializing, so reserve any business topics for afterward.

Lunch is usually the biggest meal of the day. Brazilians sit down to dinner as late as 8 or 9p.m., and it's not unusual for the meal to last until the early hours of the morning. Meals are a time for socializing, so reserve any business topics for afterward. All cities have a variety of fine international and Brazilian restaurants. A 10 percent gratuity is added to the bill, but it is good form to leave another 5 or 10 percent for fine service. Brazilians tend to eat everything with a knife and fork, including pizza, fruit, and most sandwiches. If you sit outside or at a beach restaurant, be prepared for panhandlers and street kids. It is probably best to let your Brazilian counterparts deal with them. The national drink is caipirinha, which is made of fermented sugar cane juice, limes, and sugar. Refreshing batidas of the same liquor and shaken with fruit juices are popular and potent. The south of Brazil is known for its excellent wines. Generations of Italian and German immigrants have taken advantage of the rolling hills and temperate climate to produce reds and whites of high quality. Brazilians are avid carnivores who love steak and pork loin. Try a rodĂ­zio restaurant where waiters bring skewer after skewer of grilled meats ranging from chicken wings to huge chunks of steak, and slice portions onto your plate. Small wooden cubes painted green on one side and red on the other are placed next to your plate. As long as the green (go) side is up, the waiters will keep coming back. If you are invited to an afternoon churrasco (barbecue) at your host's home, be sure to attend. This is a compliment to both of you and these afternoons of hedonistic delight are amazing. The hosts (and their servants) take care of everything, and you are expected to just have fun. There will probably be music, samba, volleyball, Frisbee, or boccie ball games for entertainment.

If you are invited to an afternoon churrasco (barbecue) at your host's home, be sure to attend.

You will want to bring a gift to your host, and candy or flowers are always appropriate. If you know your host's interests, unique items such as a photography book or specialty item from your city or region are perfect. Avoid giving scotch or other imported liquors as these remind Brazilians of a time when such items could only be had on the black market.

Š Copyright 1993-2011 by World Trade Press. All Rights Reserved. www.WorldTradePress.com • www.BestCountryReports.com

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Business Culture

Brazil

Gift Giving General Brazilians do not have formal expectations about gift giving, but they generally feel that giving small gifts during visits is a normal part of an interpersonal relationship. Personal & Family Gifts In Brazil, friends and family typically exchange gifts on special occasions like Christmas and birthdays. Many families and friends have a “secret friend” (amigo secreto) tradition during December. The secret friends correspond under assumed names during the month, revealing themselves and presenting a gift at Christmastime. On Christmas Eve, Father Noel brings gifts and fills the stockings that the children have left by the window. Sometimes the children receive treats from the three wise men on January 6, Three Kings’ Day. Birthday parties are big occasions in Brazil. At a child’s birthday party, the families of the other children stay for the party, too. Brazilian children also receive toys and other gifts on Children’s Day, October 12. Business Gifts In a business setting, gift giving is not really necessary, particularly at a first meeting. Noticeably expensive gifts given early in a business relationship can be interpreted as bribes, and will cause embarrassment. Offer to buy lunch or dinner instead. If you think you ought to present a business associate with a gift, wait until after you’ve met a few times. Don’t present a gift in the office, but wait for a social situation in an informal environment. Choose a present that is small and impersonal, such as a name-brand pen, a calculator, or some other small electronic item. Wallets, key chains, and ties are considered too personal to be given as business gifts, as are all items of clothing and perfume. One way for a man to avoid awkwardness when giving a gift to a woman is to say, “This is from my wife.” Hospitality Gifts If you are invited to someone’s home, bringing a gift of flowers, wine, or sweets to the hostess is appropriate. If you don’t bring a gift to the event, send her flowers with a thank-you note the next day. In either case, avoid purple flowers, which are reserved for funerals. If you visit a home where there are children, they should receive something as well. Appropriate gifts include sweets, music CDs, or items bearing the logos of sports teams. Gifts are opened as soon as they are given in Brazil. If you receive a gift, follow up with a thank-you note and perhaps a gift of similar size to the one you received. Taboo Gifts Avoid giving sharp items like letter openers or scissors, which can symbolize the severing of a bond. Handkerchiefs are connected with tears, so consider them unsuitable as gifts. Brazilians associate the colors black and purple with funerals, so avoid them in all gift items and wrappings.

© Copyright 1993-2011 by World Trade Press. All Rights Reserved. www.WorldTradePress.com • www.BestCountryReports.com

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Business Culture

Brazil

Women in Business

Women in Brazil occupy a secondary status in this traditionally male-dominated society.

Women in Brazil occupy a secondary status in this traditionally male-dominated society, although many operate businesses and are generally accorded considerable personal freedom. Brazilian women are becoming more involved and accepted in business, and foreign businesswomen should experience few problems. Brazilians are wonderful hosts that look after the comfort and happiness of their guests. Foreign businesswomen are expected to be highly professional and not aggressive or confrontational. Foreign female visitors should recognize that Brazilian men feel that bold comments and exaggerated leering are polite compliments—not sexual harassment. Such behavior will likely not occur in offices, but perhaps in the streets—machismo has traditionally flourished in Brazil. It should be noted, however, as talk of sexual harassment has increased of late in Brazil, the machismo problem has begun to abate; and, to the delight and relief of women, men have started to behave more "properly."

© Copyright 1993-2011 by World Trade Press. All Rights Reserved. www.WorldTradePress.com • www.BestCountryReports.com

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Business Culture

Brazil

Business Attire

Proper business attire includes suits for men.

Brazilian standards of dress are less formal than those in other Latin American countries. Nevertheless, men should wear business suits, although they can wear a more broad range of colors and styles--for example, Italian suits in lighter weights and colors in place of the traditional dark, conservative British tailoring favored elsewhere in South America. Executives usually wear three-piece suits. All ranks wear long-sleeved shirts. Foreign businesswomen should wear business suits or dresses, but more stylishness, color, makeup, and accessories are accepted and appreciated, especially in large coastal cities (dress is somewhat more traditional in less cosmopolitan inland locations). When invited to a home, men wear a suit, women a dress. For less formal social occasions, men wear shirts and trousers and women dresses or skirts--or pants--and blouses. Ties are seldom required for social events, although jackets may be. Jeans and sandals are for "kids," and are therefore not businesslike. Both sexes should wear regular shoes and avoid shorts. In fact, spend some time picking out your footwear. Shoes are an important Brazilian export, and they show status, wealth, and power. Women, in general, have greater freedom in dress--although local fashions are often brash and provocative, and dress that is too informal may invite unwanted attention. Praia, the beach, is the country's great equalizer, and you may be invited to go for a swim, take the sun and play, and/or watch volleyball. Be prepared. Bathing suits in Brazil are microscopically small for both sexes. The thong bikini (called fío dental--dental floss) was a Brazilian invention.

Business Advisory: Politics and Graft The importance of establishing a good personal relationship can't be overemphasized. Brazilians prefer to work with someone they know and trust. Brazilian contracts are viewed as binding agreements--enforceable by law. However, they tend to use long words and flowery phrases. The Portuguese translation of an English-language contract will be 20 percent longer than the original. Hire the services of a local accountant, lawyer, or notário (similar to a lawyer) to help with contract issues. Many Brazilian law firms have branches abroad that specialize in drawing up international contracts. Some even focus on specific areas such as intellectual property rights or information legislation. Engaging one of these firms is a wise investment.

Business Advisory: Fraud The importance of establishing a good personal relationship can't be overemphasized. Brazilians prefer to work with someone they know and trust. Brazilian contracts are viewed as binding agreements--enforceable by law. However, they tend to use long words and flowery phrases. The Portuguese translation of an English-language contract will be 20 percent longer than the original. Hire the services of a local accountant, lawyer, or notário (similar to a lawyer) to help with contract issues. Many Brazilian law firms have branches abroad that specialize in drawing up international contracts. Some even focus on specific areas such as intellectual property rights or information legislation. Engaging one of these firms is a wise investment.

© Copyright 1993-2011 by World Trade Press. All Rights Reserved. www.WorldTradePress.com • www.BestCountryReports.com

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Business Culture

Brazil

Cultural Considerations for Women

Adopt a conservative tone to avoid unwanted attention.

In general, women traveling to a foreign country should adopt conservative tone and behavior to keep any unwanted attention at bay, at least until you are familiar with the specifics of female roles in the country. Cultural Tips

• • • •

State your wishes clearly so that mixed signals do not become a problem. Wear a wedding band (on the left hand in Brazil), and carry a photograph of a husband and children (even if you have none) to stave off harassment. Try and look for other women to sit near on public transport; all-women compartments or areas are designated for this purpose. To repel harassment, ignore sexual advances, exposed genitalia, whistles, and various forms of catcalls; avoid eye contact and do not engage in any conversation.

© Copyright 1993-2011 by World Trade Press. All Rights Reserved. www.WorldTradePress.com • www.BestCountryReports.com

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Business Culture

Brazil

Business Workweek Monday - Friday

Saturday - Sunday

Offices

8:30a.m. or 9a.m. to 5:30p.m. or 6p.m.

Closed

Retail

9a.m. to 6p.m. Shopping centers from 10a.m. to 10p.m.

Saturday 9a.m to 12:30p.m. or 1p.m.

Banks

10a.m. to 4:30p.m.

Closed

Government

9a.m. to 5p.m.

Closed

Note: Business hours in rural areas are rarely consistent. Each locale sets its own pace in this large nation. Note: Banks have currently changed their hours as a consequence of the current power shortage. (11/01) At the moment, hours are: 9a.m. to 3p.m.

Rush hour traffic in Sao Paulo.

A school housed in a historic building in Sao Paulo.

.

Š Copyright 1993-2011 by World Trade Press. All Rights Reserved. www.WorldTradePress.com • www.BestCountryReports.com

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Business Culture

Brazil

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Brazil Business Culture