Business Culture in Brazil
INTRODUCTION TO BRAZILIAN BUSINESS AREA Ranking fifth among the world’s most populated countries and eighth as economic power, Brazil is not a country of the future but a country of the present. Its opportunities are open to those who want to collaborate with one of globalization starters, to those who love the culture and civilization of a Latin space and to those who have a great sense of business as well. The population of Brazil is about 50 million families or approximately 180 million inhabitants, the majority in urban areas. The land area of Brazil extends over 1
8.5 million square kilometres, occupying just under half of the area of Latin America. The country possesses 20% of the entire world’s biodiversity; an example of this natural wealth is the Amazon Rainforest, with 3.6 million square kilometres. Brazil accounts for three fifths of the South American economy’s industrial production and integrates various economic groups. The country’s scientific and technological development, together with a dynamic and diversified industrial sector, is attractive to foreign enterprise. Brazil trades regularly with over one hundred nations, with 74% of exports represented by manufactured or semi-manufactured goods. One of the most dynamic sectors in this trade scenery is the so-called ‘agribusiness’ sector, which for two decades has kept Brazil amongst the most highly productive countries in areas related to the rural sector. Agriculture is the only sector, among all the export sectors in the country, to produce a surplus. The owner of a sophisticated technological sector, Brazil develops projects that range from submarines to aircraft and is involved in space research: the country possesses a Launching Centre for Light Vehicles and was the only country in the Southern Hemisphere to integrate the team responsible for the construction of the International Space Station-the ISS. A pioneer in the field of deep water oil research Brazil was the first capitalist country to bring together the ten largest car assembly companies inside its national territory. As far as the actual establishment of an operation in Brazil is concerned, the potential foreign investor will have no difficulty in obtaining skilled professional assistance in preliminary stages and will find that due to the large industrial base few problems are encountered in locating joint-venture partner or a suitable manufacturing facility. Foreign investors may enter the Brazilian market directly - through a branch or a subsidiary - or through third parties by means of distribution and sales representation activities. Distribution and sales representation are, in most cases, cost saving when compared to the incorporation of a local branch or subsidiary. However, these alternatives may bring lack of control to the foreign investors over the way the third parties distribute or sell their products in Brazil and deal with their trademarks.
RELATIONSHIPS AND COMMUNICATION IN THE BRAZILIAN BUSINESS FIELD Relationships and Respect Brazil’s culture is generally group-oriented. Asserting individual preferences may be seen as less important than having a sense of belonging to a group, conforming to its norms, and maintaining harmony among its members. Building lasting and trusting personal relationships is therefore critically important to most Brazilians, who often find it essential to establish strong bonds prior to closing any deals. People in this country usually want to do business only with those they know, like and trust. If they initially seem suspicious and non-committal, you may be able to overcome this with consistent friendliness, dedication and goodwill. Proceed with 2
serious business discussions only after your counterparts have become very comfortable with you. This can be an extremely time-consuming process and often requires several trips to strengthen the bonds. You are unlikely to get anywhere without significant investments of both time and money. People may base their trust in others on past experience. In order to establish productive business cooperation, it will be critically important to keep and demonstrate a long-term perspective and commitment. Brazilians may expect that you value people and relationships more strongly than your business objectives. They tend to distrust people who appear unwilling to spend the necessary time or whose motives for relationship building are unclear. Business relationships in this country exist between people, not necessarily between companies. Even when you have won your local business partners’ friendship and trust, they will not necessarily trust others from your company. That makes it very important to keep company interfaces unchanged. Changing a key contact may require the relationship building process to start over. While Brazilians are usually warm and friendly, they are also very proud and may be easily offended by comments that leave room for misunderstandings. ‘Saving face’ and respecting everyone’s honour and personal pride are crucial requirements for doing business in the country. Openly criticizing someone in front of others can have a devastating impact on your negotiation. Avoid open conflict and know that politeness is crucial. In addition, showing genuine interest and compassion will win people’s hearts. In Brazil’s business culture, the respect a person enjoys depends primarily on his or her status, rank, and education. Showing status is important since people will take you more seriously. Similarly, it is expected that everyone show respect to those of higher status. However, more and more people in the country, especially among younger generations, have started questioning whether those in powerful positions are entitled to special privileges. Admired personal traits include creativity, oratory skills, and bargaining skills.
Communication The official language of Brazil is Portuguese. It is notably different from the Portuguese spoken in Portugal. Brazilians do not perceive themselves as Hispanics. They may take offense if addressed in Spanish. However, if you speak Spanish fluently, you may want to ask politely whether they would mind speaking it. Many businesspeople speak at least some English. With some high-ranking managers, it may be useful to engage an interpreter. To avoid offending the other side, ask beforehand whether an interpreter should be present at a meeting. When communicating in English, speak in short, simple sentences and avoid using jargon and slang. It will help people with a limited command of English if you speak slowly, summarize your key points often, and pause frequently to allow for interpretation. Even when the main meeting language is English, your counterparts may frequently speak Portuguese among themselves, not necessarily to shut you out from the 3
discussion but to reduce their discomfort and ensure a common understanding among them. While discussions may get very enthusiastic and lively, Brazilians generally dislike loud and boisterous behaviour. However, it is crucial that you never lose your temper or appear impatient, as there is always a risk of hurting someone’s pride. People may interrupt others or speak in parallel, but this is not recommended. Emotions are usually shown very openly. Brazilians generally converse in extremely close proximity, standing only few centimetres apart. Never back away, even if this is much closer than your personal comfort zone allows. Doing so could be read as a sign that you are uncomfortable around them. Depending on the situation, communication in Brazil can be either direct or indirect. People usually avoid open conflict. In addition, they may be reluctant to disagree openly with someone they like, in which case it can become difficult to know their true opinion. However, in business settings they usually have no problem saying ‘no’ and may prefer frank messages to diplomatic ones. Brazilians can be direct and intense at the negotiation table, while polite and ambiguous in social settings. Silence likely signals embarrassment. Gestures and body language can be very expressive. It is often not a good idea to imitate them, though. Physical contact with others of the same gender is ok. The Non-verbal communication can be very extensive, so watch for clues. If someone is flicking their fingertips underneath the chin, they are signalling that they do not know the answer to a question. Eye contact should be very frequent, almost to the point of staring. This conveys sincerity and helps build trust.
Initial Contacts and Meetings Choosing a local intermediary, or despachante, who can leverage existing relationships to make the initial contact is highly recommended. This person will help bridge the gap between cultures, allowing you to conduct business with greater effectiveness. Your embassy, a trade organization, a chamber of commerce, or a local legal or accounting firm may be able to list potential despachantes. It is often better to conduct negotiations in Brazil with a team of negotiators rather than to rely on a single individual. This signals importance, facilitates stronger relationship building, and may speed up the overall process. It is vital that teams be well aligned, with roles clearly assigned to each member. Brazilian negotiators may be very good at exploiting disagreements between members of the other team to their advantage. Changing a team member may require the relationship building process to start over and should therefore be avoided. Given the strong emphasis on status and hierarchy in the country’s business culture, a senior executive should attend the initial meeting for your company and your negotiating team should include senior leaders who know your company well. 4
There will not be an expectation that the executive attends future meetings. Similarly, the top executive on the Brazilian side, who may also be the ultimate decision maker, may attend only initially. If possible, schedule meetings at least one to two weeks in advance. Since people want to know whom they will be meeting, provide details on titles, positions, and responsibilities of attendees ahead of time. Agreeing on an agenda upfront can also be useful. Reconfirm your meeting, and be prepared for your counterparts to cancel or postpone meetings with little advance notice. While meetings may start considerably late, Brazilians generally expect foreign visitors to be punctual. Avoid being more than 10 to 15 minutes late, and call ahead if you will be. Displaying anger if you have to wait, which happens often, reflects very poorly on you. Meetings start with small talk, which may be extensive. This may include questions on a wide range of subjects. However, one’s private life is not a subject for discussion around meetings. Most Brazilians dislike people who ‘leap right into business.’ It is important to be patient and let the other side set the pace. People appreciate a sense of humour, but keep it light and friendly and be careful not to overdo it. Business is a serious matter in Brazil. While initial meetings may appear very formal, you may find the atmosphere at subsequent meetings to become much more relaxed. The primary purpose of the first meeting is to become acquainted and build relationships. Business may be discussed, but do not try to hurry along with your agenda. It is unrealistic to expect initial meetings to lead to straight decisions. Presentation materials should be attractive, with good and clear visuals. Having your handout materials translated to Portuguese is not a must, but it will be appreciated and helps in getting your messages across. When the meeting is over, stay around and have some more small talk with your Brazilian counterparts. Leaving right away suggests that you have better things to do and may offend others.
Negotiation Leveraging relationships is an important element when negotiating in Brazil. Nevertheless, Brazilians often employ distributive and contingency bargaining. While the buyer is in a superior position, both sides in a business deal own the responsibility to reach agreement. They expect long-term commitments from their business partners and will focus mostly on long-term benefits. The primary negotiation style is competitive and Brazilians can be very aggressive negotiators. While proposals should demonstrate the benefits to both negotiating parties, neither of them should take attempts to win competitive advantages negatively. It is crucial to remain nonconfrontational and avoid direct conflict throughout the bargaining exchange. Ultimately, the culture promotes a win-win approach and people value long-term business relationships. You will earn your counterparts’ respect by maintaining a positive, persistent attitude. Do not openly show aggression or frustration. Should a dispute arise at any stage of a negotiation, you might be able to reach resolution by leveraging personal relationships. Expect negotiations to be slow and protracted. Brazilians do not hurry and dislike people who do. They see impatience as a sign of weakness and may even think it rude. Relationship building, information gathering, bargaining, and decision making 5
may take considerable time. Attempts to rush the process are unlikely to produce better results and may be viewed as offensive. Throughout the negotiation, be patient, control your emotions, and accept the inevitable delays. Most Brazilians are used to pursuing multiple actions and goals in parallel. When negotiating, they often jump back and forth between topics rather than addressing them in sequential order. Negotiators from cultures such as Germany, the United Kingdom, or the United States, may find this style confusing, irritating, and even annoying. In any case, do not show irritation or anger when encountering this behaviour. Instead, keep track of the bargaining progress at all times, often emphasizing areas where agreement already exists. Negotiators in the country may frequently use pressure techniques that include making final offers, showing intransigence, or nibbling. Final offers may come more than once and are rarely final. Be careful when trying to open with your best offer. Brazilians may consider this inappropriate or even insulting. Silence can be a way to signal rejection of a proposal or to obtain further concessions. Do not use pressure tactics such as applying time pressure or making expiring offers as these may be taken as signs that you are not willing to build a long-term relationship. Your counterparts may even choose to terminate the negotiation. Brazilian negotiators may sometimes appear aggressive or adversarial. Negotiations in the country could include confrontational elements. Using extreme openings is rare but can be effective to provoke an initial reaction. Negotiators may make threats and warnings, openly display anger, or even use walkouts. It is advisable not to respond in kind. There is always a huge risk to hurt your counterparts’ pride and the margin for error is small. It will be best to remain firm and persistent, but also friendly and respectful. Brazilians may frequently employ defensive tactics such as blocking or changing the subject, asking probing or very direct questions, making promises, or keeping an inflexible position. Corruption and bribery are somewhat common in Brazil’s public and private sectors. However, people may draw the line differently, viewing minor payments as rewards for getting a job done rather than as bribes. Also, keep in mind that there is a fine line between giving gifts and bribing. What you may consider a bribe, a Brazilian may view as only a nice gift.
Agreements and Contracts Capturing and exchanging written understandings after meetings and at key negotiation stages is useful since oral statements are not always dependable. Signatures are not required to confirm commitments. Brazilians still mostly rely on handshakes and their word, which are usually dependable. Written contracts tend to be lengthy and often spell out detailed terms and conditions for the core agreements as well as for many eventualities. Nevertheless, writing up and signing the contract is a formality. Brazilians believe that the primary strength of an agreement lies in the partners’ relationship and commitment rather than in its written documentation. It is recommended to consult a local legal expert before signing a contract. Local laws are often complex and difficult to understand. The Brazilian side may 6
view it very unfavourably if you use a foreign lawyer. In addition, it may be best not to bring your attorney to the negotiation table as it could be read as a sign of mistrust. Contracts are usually dependable and the agreed terms are viewed as binding. However, business partners usually expect the other side to remain somewhat flexible if conditions change. Given the relatively unstable political and economic situation in the country, you should factor this possibility into your negotiation planning.
Other Things to be Taken into Consideration Social events do not require strict punctuality. While it is best to arrive at dinners close to the agreed time, being late to a party by 30 minutes or more is perfectly acceptable. Business may be discussed during meals in Brazil. Gift giving in business settings is rare, at least as long as no strong relationship exists. It is best not to bring a gift to an initial meeting in order to avoid raising suspicions about your motives. A topic that is best avoided is the country’s relationship with Argentina. In addition, do not refer to citizens of the United States as Americans. Brazilians are sensitive to this point as they feel that the term includes them.
URBANISM AND ARCHITECTURE By far the most important demographic change in Brazil's recent history has been its shift from a predominantly rural to an urban society. As recently as 1940, more than two-thirds of Brazilians lived in rural areas, but by 2000 the proportion of rural dwellers had dropped to 22%. The ‘urban designation,’ however, includes many small cities as well as the large population centers of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. With urbanization have come a number of intractable social problems. The large cities of southern Brazil have long attracted migrants from the impoverished north, but the economies of these cities have not expanded rapidly enough to absorb all these migrants. Unemployment, underemployment at subsistence wages, poverty, and crime have been the result. So, too, have been the growth of shantytowns, such as the famed hillside favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Favelas are extralegal settlements consisting of makeshift dwellings that lack urban services.
Today Brazil has the eighth largest economy in the world. It is a major producer of some agricultural products. Nevertheless, because of the tremendous growth of industry, agriculture accounts for only 13% of the nation' gross domestic product. Agriculture employees are about one-quarter of the Brazilian labor force. Five million agricultural workers are wage laborers concentrated in the plantations of the North and the increasingly mechanized agricultural enterprises of the Southeast and South. More than 70% of these workers lack contracts and social benefits and less than 40% are employed year round. There are also 4.8 million landless families who survive as tenant farmers, sharecroppers, and casual laborers. In the last decades of the twentieth century, increasing mechanization and monopolization of the best farmlands by agribusinesses has accelerated the displacement of small family-owned farms. During the 1960s and 1970s Brazil experienced economic growth from agricultural modernization and, by the early 1980s agricultural production had increased to the extent that Brazil had become the fourth largest food exporter in the world. But, at the same time, Brazil was not adequately feeding its own people. It is sixth worldwide in malnutrition, ahead of only Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
ETIQUETTE Brazilians have less sense of personal space than North Americans or Europeans and are not bothered being packed together in crowded public places. They are physically expressive and convey emotional information through touch. While in some societies touching has sexual overtones, Brazilians equate it with friendship and a show of concern. Women tend to touch more than men and greet others with kisses on both cheeks, but men also welcome each other with hearty pats on the back and bear hugs. Such informality extends to conversation. Brazilians usually address teachers, doctors, priests, and other professionals using their title followed by their first name - Professor Joao, Doutora Maxine or Presidente Henrique. Still, body language and terms of address vary with an individual's social standing. A domestic servant will greet her employer with a limp handshake, head slightly bowed and eyes lowered, and address her using the respectful ‘you’ (a senhora), rather than the familiar ‘you’ (voceê); the mistress of the house, by contrast always addresses her servants as voceê. University graduates or, at times, even those who appear to be well educated, are addressed as doutor or doutora (doctor). Brazilians also have relaxed attitudes towards nudity and toward the body in general. Witness the scanty costumes of carnival performers which consist of little more than a wisp of fabric and a few feathers, and the tiny string bikinis—called ‘dental floss’ (fio dental) in Brazilian slang - that women of all shapes, sizes, and ages wear on Brazil's public beaches.
Social Stratification and National Identity Present Brazil, although one of the ten largest economies in the world, has the most unequal distribution of income of any nation except South Africa. Moreover, inequality has been growing. In the mid 1990s, the poorest 20% of the population received only 3% of national income, while the richest 10% received 47%. It is estimated that some thirty-three million Brazilians live in poverty, including twenty million workers and ten million pensioners who receive the minimum wage of around $115 a month. In parts of Brazil, particularly the Northeast, infant mortality, a sensitive indicator of social inequality, has actually been rising. This social question, as Brazilians call the divide between rich and poor, has characterized the nation since colonial times. With industrialization and urbanization during the first decades of the twentieth century, however, the growth of the Brazilian middle class has made this simple division more complex. Today, depending on how it is defined, the middle class accounts for one-fifth to one-third of the population, but the resources and lifestyle of its members vary considerably. Some claim the Brazilian middle class admires elite values and aspires to elite status and it is indeed true that middle-class families in Brazil are far more likely to employ domestic servants and send their children to private school than their North American or European counterparts. Brazilians are preoccupied with class distinctions and are quick to size up the social distance that exists between themselves and others they meet. Yardsticks of such distance are general appearance and the ‘correctness’ of a person's speech. The degree to which an individual's vocabulary and grammar is considered ‘educated’ is used as a measure of schooling and, hence, social class. And this, in turn, establishes patterns of deference and authority between two individuals should they belong to different social strata. When such patterns are ignored, the ‘elite’ persons may harshly demand of their ‘lesser,’ ‘Do you know whom you're talking to?’ - a ritualized response when someone of higher status is not accorded due deference by someone lower on the social scale. While many people today see Brazil's racial and cultural diversity as one of the nation's strengths, foreign visitors and Brazilians themselves have at times drawn a connection between extensive racial mixing and Brazil's ‘backwardness.’ The belief that Brazil was less able to develop due to its racial heterogeneity was at the root of governmental decisions regarding immigration. Nineteenth century government sponsored colonization schemes, for example, hoped to attract white immigrants, especially northern Europeans. And, in the early twentieth century Brazilian elites were straightforward about their desire to ‘whiten’ the country so that it would develop economically. Contemporary Brazilians not only share a common culture, they insist on distinguishing themselves linguistically and ethnically from other Latin Americans, a stance rooted in a sense of cultural pride, in the distinctiveness of their ‘race’ as they call it. Brazilians have long been indifferent to their South American neighbors, dismissing their shared Iberian roots as of no particular consequence. As Brazilian anthropologist Darcy Ribeiro once remarked, ‘Brazil and Spanish America are divided into two worlds, back to back to each other.’
Brazil uses additional categories to classify those with the skin tones inbetween such as: - Moreno - racially mixed - Mestizo - colored - Pardo - medium brown The question of ‘Who is considered black?’ is more complex in Brazil then in the U.S. as in Brazil there is a hierarchy based on race. Even though Brazil has a law claiming racism to be a crime, it usually gets overlooked as racism is so subtle. It is not supported by law but by custom to regard darker skin as undesirable. A larger percentage of blacks have a lower level of education, lower level of literacy, and lower level of employment. Affirmative action programs are being set into place as to reserve 20% of the spots in many universities for Afro-Brazilians. However, the term ‘black’ can also account for those of lighter color. There is racism in the health system due to prejudice and inadequately trained personal. The average income is twice for white Brazilians then for black Brazilians. A survey done in 2005 by the Brazilian Ethics Institute found that the proportion increased in the number of white individuals who held top positions in businesses. Most black individuals were found at the bottom: - 94% of executive positions were occupied by whites - 2.9% of executive positions were occupied by white-black mixed races - 0.5% of executive positions were occupied by blacks
Femininity vs. Masculinity Brazil’s democratic society is still battling against their gender differences. Brazil is a collectivistic society, but with a high power distance embedded in it. This feature of power distance is very common in Latin American countries, where a male dominated society is the status quo. Research and studies suggest that Brazilian males have advantages over women in: material resources, power, status, authority. The gap between Brazilian men and Brazilian women in relation to Social Justice is not any more because of legal under representation. Brazil transitioned from military dictatorship to civilian rule in 1986 and their constitution was rewritten in 1988. The new constitution adopted reforms claimed by feminist activist in areas such as new rights for rural and urban workers, maternity and paternity leaves, antidiscrimination and legal recognition. After the constitutional reform of 1988, many activist demands were transformed into constitutional rights, but still grater effort is required to narrow the gap between genders. Once Brazil transitioned to a democratic society, there is an increasing presence of women in the educational development of the nation. By 1991, research suggests that on the educational attainment, women led a considerable lead over men in advanced schooling. Yet, by 1991, women only accounted for 39% of the labor force, given the fact that they were more likely to pursue greater than a high school education. The findings imply that without gender bias, women in Brazil should have access to more prestigious jobs. However, research show us that men held most of the administrative and industrial jobs, while women are left with the traditional feminine activities such as: service, domestic and clerical. Therefore, there is a disproportionately concentration of women among the lowest paying jobs. In addition, Brazilian males earned more that women in every category. In other words, women 10
are paid less than similar qualified men, and at the highest level of education, white women earned only 47% of white men’s wage. Some stated that women earned lower salaries than men in Brazil because they work less hours, due to the fact that Brazil’s masculinity society expects women to continue with their domestic duties. Nevertheless, such allegations are false, because studies show that women of all racial categories in Brazil work forty hours or more per week. Despite the visible and intense presence of women in Brazil’s labor force and the leading participation in educational attainment, gender inequality seems to be increasing with economic growth and modernization. There is no doubt that sexism is a continuing challenge for Brazil’s democratization.
Collectivism vs. Individualism In international business relationships one of the most difficult skills to posses is the ability to conform and adapt to different cultures. In Brazil, it might be hard to interpret the context of a business negotiation or build a successful business relationship unless you understand the collectivistic nature of Brazilian culture. Brazil has a low individualism rank, indicating that Brazil is a very collectivistic society. Hofstede describes the culture as ‘having a close long-term commitment to the member 'group', be that a family, extended family, or extended relationships. Loyalty in a collectivist culture is paramount, and over-rides most other societal rules.’ In a collectivistic culture, such as Brazil, it is impetrative to know the following: - Value is placed on the needs of the group - Culture is extremely family orientated - Key decisions are made with regards to family - Family is not restricted to immediate family - The culture desires unity and remains loyal to that unit These values and key points are important to know because they influence the way Brazilians perceive problems, the way they generate strategies and solutions, and the process by which they choose a solution. After studying and analyzing the differences in Brazilian culture, business professionals will be able to conform to the preferences of a collectivistic culture, which in Brazil are, negotiating deals that benefit or are concerned with the whole group, heavy distinction between group members and non-group members is required, ethical judgments are made based on the consequences of the action relevant to the 11
group, and that competition is not emphasized because it would single out a member of the group. Taking into consideration all of this information will allow for smooth and successful international business negotiations.
RELIGION Religious Beliefs and Business Brazil is the largest Catholic country in the world even though the percentage of Brazilians who belong to the Catholic Church has declined in recent years, down from 95% in the 1950s. Today about 73% of Brazilians identify themselves as Catholic but an unknown number are Catholics by tradition, not by faith. Although church and state are separate in Brazil and, by law, there is freedom of religious belief and expression, a close relationship exists between the Catholic Church and the state. Major Catholic holidays are public holidays and a priest or bishop always presides at the inauguration of public buildings. Also, church-based welfare and educational institutions, such as religious seminaries, receive financial support from the federal government. At various times in Brazilian history the Catholic Church has either strongly endorsed the state or vigorously challenged the status quo, as in the case of liberation theology, a late-twentieth century movement that provided religious justification for questioning the yawning gap between haves and have-nots in Brazil. Catholicism varies somewhat in rural and urban settings. What has been called ‘folk Catholicism’. which includes beliefs and practices long abandoned in cities, is observed by people in the interior of the country. Such popular Catholicism survives in pilgrimage centers in the backlands which attract thousands of Brazilians, often from great distances. The faithful take vows to make a pilgrimage to honor the saint who fulfills their request - recovery from illness or getting a job are examples. Sometimes the grateful supplicant offers the saint a carved likeness of the body part that has been cured. 12
Brazilian Catholicism has always coexisted - generally in relative harmony with other religions including those of the nation's indigenous people, African religions brought to Brazil by slaves, European spiritism, and various Protestant denominations. Although religion is celebrated in Brazil it is not recommended to use religion as a good conversation starter. There is no prayer in the business place. Some evangelicals (which are a small portion of Brazilians) may mix prayer with work. Umbanda is a religion which mixes Catholicism with African religious worships. Umbanda has a strong influence on those who are nominally Catholic as well as those who practice Umbanda. Brazil has a very broad history and many different cultures including Portuguese, Italian, German, Japanese, East European, and African, these have all influenced the modern Brazil culture; therefore religion is not common in the work place. In general religion is not a source of unrest. Brazilians are very relaxed and punctuality is not common. In the business world negotiations can talk longer than an American or a European would be use to. Many business people rely on relationships with the people they are doing business with rather than only getting to know the person for business. Brazilians enjoy relationships deeper than business and will very commonly go out and not talk about business in the first meeting. Meetings are informal. Regular business hours are 8:30 to 5:00pm and lunch might be two hours sometimes. Brazilian men and women are very fashionable in the workplace and in general.
INFLUENCES Brazil like most countries draws its heritage from many different places. There is a long history of how Brazil came to be what it is today. Without other cultures influencing a country the diversity would not be the same. Here are some of the birth places Brazil's heritage comes from and facts about Brazil’s influences. It was a colony of Portugal for over 3 centuries. Large numbers of settlers from Portugal arrived during this period (nearly 1 million). The native inhabitants of Brazil had a strong contact with the colonists. Many were exterminated, others mixed with the Portuguese. For that reason, Brazil also holds Amerindian influences in its culture, mainly in its food and language. Converted the slaves to Catholicism and taught them how to speak Portuguese to make them ‘more civilized’. Brazil's cuisine is drawn from three distinctive cultures: the native Indians, Portuguese, and African American slaves (brought in to work the sugar cane fields). Brazil's main dish feijoada is in general a particularly ‘heavy’ dish; it is only served at noon. Second is a bean dish. Brazil has also had many immigrants such as Italians, Germans, Spanish, Japanese, and from the Middle East. They mostly settled in the southern and southeastern parts of Brazil. Their immigration into Brazil was allowed for the creation of many important communities such as: Joinville and Caxias do Sul. This certainly brought great contributions to the Culture of Brazil. Brazil also had other immigrants come through. They however, did not have a lasting impact as those mentioned before. They include mostly Europeans. All of these different influences have created today's Brazilian culture.