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Called The Tibet of the Americas, landlocked Bolivia is Latin America’s highest and
most isolated country. Its dense mountains and jungles and compact valleys are
home to a sparse population.

More than half the population is Amerindian; where traditional religion, language,
clothing, and music remain part of their daily lives. This is in sharp contrast to
culture of the Spanish-descended elite class. Although Spanish influences are seen
in urban colonial architecture, the country remains culturally tied to its native roots.

Bolivia has limited arable land. Its vast rainforests have been subject to significant
deforestation and it remains among the poorest and most undeveloped countries in
the world, relying heavily on foreign aid. The government opposes free-trade
policies and has tightened control over the economy, nationalizing the energy
sector and key utilities.

The country has the second-largest reserves of natural gas in South America;
however, disagreements continue as to the exploration and exportation of the
resource. Indigenous groups see these reserves as the country's last natural
resources and they do not want control relinquished to foreign companies. In 2006,
the energy industry was put under government control.

Culture Overview

Cultural Essentials

The Family / Familia
The family is the center of the social structure and provides a stabilizing
influence for its members. In rural areas, many generations often live
together in one house. Regardless of whether they live with one another,
the family is connected by deep feelings of love and loyalty. The extended
family (called "familia") includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins,
godparents, and close family friends who are treated as family. The family
provides both emotional and financial support to its members.

The elderly are revered for their age and experience. It would bring shame
upon a family to send elderly relatives to a nursing home.

Machismo literally means "masculinity" or "toughness". It survives in this 8.2.2017.

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culture where traditional gender roles prevail. The responsiblity of
maintaining the house rests with the wife, even if she is employed outside
the home. Machismo affects the way men treat women and also the way
men deal with each other. From birth, boys are raised to believe that they
are superior and play a dominant role both in the family and society as a
whole. They are indulged as children and young adults by their extended
family. As they grow, they are given more social freedom, which often
translates into more authority and economic power. At the same time, boys
are taught that it is crucial that they maintain their personal dignity in all
interactions. Therefore, they do not back down from an argument and are
sensitive to any perceived slights.

Class Structure
Bolivia is comprised of a small number of whites, a larger group of
mestizos (intermarriage of whites with indigenous Indians), and a majority
of Quechua or Aymara Indians. There are also a small number of blacks
who are descended from the slaves imported during the Spanish colonial
period. Until recently, whites (called "blancos") and mestizos controlled the

Indians focus their loyalties on their local community rather than on some
abstract sense of a common ethnic identity. These loyalties extend outward
in a circular fashion from family to neighborhood to village. Upwardly
mobile mestizos are called "cholos". By moving to an urban area, an Indian
might assimilate and become mestizo. Assuming mestizo identity requires
a change in clothing as well as becoming proficient in Spanish. Complete
assimilation seldom occurs in one generation. Mestizo socioeconomic
status changed after the 1952 revolution.

Whites are at the top of the ethnic pyramid, although they account for only
about 10% of the population. Socioeconomic boundaries, rather than skin
color, give whites their status. In general, the white elite is culturally
homogeneous and true to its Spanish heritage.

In current day Bolivia, class membership is largely defined by an economic
status, rather than skin color. As such, social mobility is low, even by Latin
American standards.

Bolivian Cuisine
Bolivian food can be quite spicy. The most popular local dished] are
"chairo" (lamb, potatoes, and vegetables), "sajta" (chicken in hot pepper
sauce), "saltena empanada" (meat and chicken pies with potatoes, olives
and raisins), "lomo montado" (fried steak with fried eggs, rice and fried
bananas), and "picante de pollo" (fried chicken, fried potatoes and rice).
Bolivian beer is very good.

Religion 8.2.2017.

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Most Bolivians are nominally Roman Catholic, although religion is
predominately the domain of women. Men do not feel obliged to attend
church or to practice their religion. The relationship between church and
state is closely intertwined. Religious organizations own extensive tracts of
land and serve as quasi-official moneylenders to the landed elite and high-
ranking officeholders. In 1961 the government relinquished its right to
mediate in church affairs.

The vast majority of the indigenous population follow their own brand of
folk-Catholicism, which is quite removed from the pure religion. Indigenous
rituals and fragments of Roman Catholic worship are interwoven in the
elaborate fiestas that are the focus of rural social life.

Role of Women

For generations, a woman’s role in Bolivia was based on race, social status
and geography. Women living in rural areas worked outside the home out
of economic necessity, but continued to derive their sense of identity from
their role as wife, mother, and homemaker. In more urban areas, some
women maintained their traditional role while others pursued a career.

In the early 1990s, day-care facilities became more prevalent, making it
easier for women to work outside the home. The government capitalized
on the influx of international companies and suggested that they provide
such facilities for their workers.

In the last decade, Bolivian women have entered university in large
numbers and now outnumber male students. As a result, many women
work in professional positions, although the number that reaches the
managerial level remains limited.

Major changes occurred for women with the adoption of the 2009
constitution which ended 500 years of colonialism by favoring the
indigenous majority. The constitution contains 33 articles relating to
women’s rights, including the protection of women against all forms of
violence, a veto on discrimination against women on the basis of sexual
orientation and recognition of women’s contribution to economic growth.

Per the Constitution, women must occupy at least 50% of all elected
government positions. To ensure that this percentage is attained,
candidate lists must alternate between women and men's names.
Currently, 43% of the mayors and council persons in the 327 local
governments are women, and 96% of them are holding public office for the
first time. As of 2010, half of President Evo Morales’ cabinet were women.

Women's roles in Bolivia are in a state of transition. Their progress is
largely due to legal reform and public policies that have contributed to
improve equity between men and women. Many NGOs offer training
programs for women or provide micro-financing for entrepreneurial 8.2.2017.

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View of Foreign Women
As more Bolivian businesswomen enter the workforce, foreign
businesswomen have become more accepted than they were a decade
ago. It is a good idea for a foreign businesswoman to demonstrate her
expertise and knowledge and maintain a professional demeanor.

Tips for Businesswomen
It is a good idea to find a balance between appearing warm and friendly,
yet not appearing overly casual. Despite the raised voices and expressive
hand gestures, Bolivians are relatively formal in business.

Foreign businesswomen should act in a reserved manner with male
colleagues. Although personal relationships are the cornerstone of
business dealings, it is a good idea to treat businessmen formally. This
reinforces your status as a serious businessperson.

A businesswoman should extend her hand to a Bolivian businessman
during the greeting process.

Bolivians can take offense easily if they believe you have questioned their

After-hours socializing is an important way to develop the personal
relationships that are crucial to successful business dealings. If you want to
have a meal with a Bolivian businessman, it is a good idea to include
another person in the invitation to reinforce the business nature of the

Establishing Credibility
When doing business with a company for the first time, try to be introduced
by someone who knows a high-ranking person in the organization.
Although this may not be the person you will conduct business with, your
status will be enhanced by being introduced at a higher level.

It is a good idea to establish your credentials early in the relationship. If this
has not been done by the person who made the introduction, forward a
brief biography including your academic background and professional

A businesswoman should be authorized to make decisions. Having to defer
to others may cause you to lose credibility.

If you must disagree with a Bolivian, it is important to remain polite,
diplomatic, and tactful. Even if the person raises his voice or appears
emotional, maintaining a calm demeanor demonstrates professionalism.

"Who you know" is often more important than "what you know". It is a good
idea to join local professional organizations to expand your professional

Interpersonal skills and maintaining harmonious working relations are vital 8.2.2017.

Many Bolivians are anti-globalization. To avoid this. Cross Culture Tips The following cultural observations are based on the dimensions in the ICAM169. In many parts of the country. This visible taking charge enhances your credibility. It is not that they are opposed to foreigners. and poise. the indigenous Indian population continues to live as they have for centuries..aspx. View of Foreigners Although the government encourages foreign investment. Perhaps the most important tip we can provide is that when interacting across cultures.culturewizard. Avoid confrontational or aggressive behavior..2017. this is more pronounced in the rural and mining areas or coca producing areas. If you must take an unpopular stand do so with tact. Many Bolivians continue to defer to the men when working with a foreign team. Whenever possible. 8. Egalitarian The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • How society is structured • How power is allocated or earned • Tolerance for social mobility • How organizations are structured and run • The amount of responsibility and control employees are given you may want to arrange with your team in advance to have certain questions deferred to you. we had to make generalizations. Many Bolivians stereotype people from other Latin American countries. but in order to describe cultural traits.PrintView Page 5 of 42 to your success. which may not apply in some cases. you need to approach every situation with an understanding of the basic tenets of a given culture and yet remain alert to the specific cultural signals you receive in each situation and adjust your behavior and expectations accordingly. Cultural Model. Please keep in mind that not all people from any given culture act the same. they simply know that they are different and are somewhat suspicious of them. They are designed to help you work and understand people from other cultural backgrounds. discretion. . Hierarchical vs. many Bolivians are concerned that foreigners are in the country to exploit their natural resources. lead the business discussion when you are part of a team.2.

PrintView Page 6 of 42 Bolivia is hierarchical. • Be aware that people expect to be treated differently based on their socio-economic backgrounds or levels in the organization. Informal The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The importance of appearance and demeanor as an indicator of status • The importance of protocol and etiquette • The appropriate use of titles. • Adding some context. you should remember the following tips: • You will need to give clear.aspx. . • Show the appropriate level of deference and respect. • As a manager.culturewizard. and dialog are important to assure understanding. • Expect to encounter more bureaucracy in organizations and government agencies. background information. • Take care when making introductions to have a respectful.. • Eloquence in verbal communication and meticulous preparation of written or visual communication forms are highly valued. • Show you are considering the subject thoroughly when a topic is presented. Indirect The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The relative importance of verbal vs.2.. deadlines. even deferential demeanor. so when interacting with people from Bolivia. building relationships and entertaining http://kpmg.2017. surnames and honorifics • The appropriateness of discussing personal matters at work • Appropriate ways of meeting people. Direct vs. you will be expected to demonstrate an authoritative leadership style. through language and behavior. Formal vs. explicit directions regarding duties. to the more senior members of society. The following tips will give you clues about how you might handle communication with people from Bolivia: • Non-verbal gestures are important to enhance the meaning and acceptance of the words being spoken. non-verbal communication • The degree of directness or subtlety in the language • The relative importance of contextual versus tactical information in conveying a message • The need to maintain harmony and dignity when communicating • The degree to which a society uses conciseness and clarity versus eloquent language when communicating Bolivia is an indirect communication culture. and decisions. they expect to take direction from the leader. • Do not expect employees to display individual initiative.

teamwork in accomplishing and rewarding business goals • The roles and responsibilities of individuals to other family members • The appropriate levels of self-assertion and self-promotion within a society Bolivia is group-oriented culture. • They may be uncomfortable if too much focus is placed on them individually. implementation may be quite rapid. Do not move to first-name basis until invited. • Check with a colleague or local national about rules of protocol and etiquette about specific circumstances since being correct with etiquette is important. preferring the praise to be given to the entire group.2. • Promotions tend to be based on seniority and relationships rather than performance. Group vs. people will consult with others before stating their opinion.. http://kpmg. then as an individual. • Do not ask personal questions in a social setting unless you have developed a close relationship with someone. • Status is important and you may be judged on the image you present. • Individuals are not generally comfortable taking credit for their 8. .PrintView Page 7 of 42 Bolivia is a formal society.. The following will help you when you interact with people from Bolivia: • People value their role as a team member and identify themselves first as part of a group. • In general. These external cues matter to locals.culturewizard. • Individuals feel a strong sense of responsibility for family members. the clothes you wear and where you live and what car you drive. Individual The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The source of an individual's identity and loyalties • The relative importance of the individual versus the group • Whether legal systems will protect the rights of the individual or focus on the group as a whole • Whether individuals prefer to work alone or be part of a group • Whether work teams operate as a seamless entity or as cooperating individuals • The value of individual contributions vs. it is best to use the formal tense when using the local language.2017. • Decision making may be a slow process since consensus is important.aspx. Once a decision is reached. • In general. Check to be certain it is proper to use social functions to network. When you interact with people from Bolivia: • Address people by their appropriate title and name.

if you neglect "people needs" and relationship building in favor of keeping a schedule. When interacting with people from Bolivia. 8. sourcing new you should remember the following tips: http://kpmg. . • Social events rarely start at the scheduled time and almost never have a scheduled ending. • While exposure to global business has made these cultures aware that others view time commitments as exact. schedules • Attitudes towards timekeeping and punctuality • Comfort level with short range vs. longer term planning • The feasibility / appropriateness of assigning set times for social functions or business meetings to start and finish Bolivia is a Fluid Time culture.. • People from Controlled Time cultures should not misinterpret tardiness as being rude. you may meet resistance in accomplishing your goals. and allow failure Bolivia is a strongly External Control society. They may not share the same sense of urgency about completing business projects. • Often.2. or personal career advancement.culturewizard. As you learn the local time customs. you may expect meetings and other events to start at the approximate scheduled time.PrintView Page 8 of 42 Fluid vs. Fluid Time cultures are also highly relationship-oriented. • People in Fluid Time cultures will generally put concern for people ahead of deadlines and schedules. you will be less likely to come to social events too early and spend less time waiting for meetings to begin.2017. schedules and deadlines as a general approximation rather than an absolute of when something should be done. The following tips will give you clues about how you may best interact with people from Bolivia around time issues: • People regard time. • Fluid Time cultures often strive for balance in professional and personal lives. Internal The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The degree to which people feel they control their environment and destiny-or the degree to which they feel their environment and destiny control them • Openness to change and innovation • The preference for rules and structure • Willingness to take risks • The degree to which organizational practices encourage and reward initiative and risk taking.aspx.. External vs. Controlled Time The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The degree to which people feel that they can control time • The relative importance of relationships vs.

culturewizard.2.. Interpersonal vs. Balance vs. whether it is in your household or in your office. be prepared for considerable discussion and debate and other actions that demonstrate resistance. directive leadership. you should remember the following tips: • Individuals value their personal and family time. status and sense of personal accomplishment are derived from family.aspx. • Staff.2017. will respond best to explicit rules.. . Management is often paternalistic and care-taking towards employees. and will probably assume that their career advancement is more contingent on connections. • Personal identity. • When introducing initiatives. or talk about work at social functions may not be looked upon favorably. guidelines and instructions. • Don't expect changes to be readily embraced and be prepared for considerable resistance even after you’ve been able to demonstrate the value of a proposed change. generate business leads. • While employees and colleagues in Bolivia may show a great deal of competence.PrintView Page 9 of 42 • People in this society look for strong. education and pursuits outside of the workplace. • Attempts to network. • Small talk at business or social functions will cover every aspect of an individual's life and interests. 8. Transactional Relationships The defining characteristics of this dimension are: http://kpmg. • Employees are less likely to take charge of their own career management. Status The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The importance and value attached to professional vs. • Family obligations will take precedence over professional loyalties or advancement. • Individuals value their personal and family time. and not focus exclusively on professional matters. seniority. • People in these societies are typically quite risk averse and the society is not readily forgiving of failure. People are reluctant to permanently relocate and leave family and friends. When interacting with people from Bolivia. Employees will be reluctant to work late or on weekends if it interferes with familial commitments or obligations. don’t be surprised if they don’t show much initiative. and length of tenure with the company than job personal lives • How status and success are defined by a society • The presence or absence of government-sponsored initiatives relating to family welfare benefits • The source of an individual's identity and self-esteem • Tolerance for blurring the lines between professional and personal lives Bolivia is a strong Balance-Motivation culture.

and other minorities. There are small German. • While relationships may take time to build. Your hosts are not being deliberately intrusive.2017. .5 million). 8. once established. Circumventing or rushing the relationship-building process will probably not work.000). relationship-oriented culture..culturewizard. or professional and personal lives Bolivia is a highly interpersonal. and Guarani (125.PrintView Page 10 of 42 • What constitutes a relationship • What are the expectations • Whether trust is deemed critical to building social or business relationships • What takes precedence in making a business decision: the people involved or other more objective business criteria • The pace and degree of formalized rituals in building new relationships • The appropriateness of mixing business and pleasure. • Employing or giving favorable treatment to family members and friends may be good business. Aymara (2 million). • Be prepared at social or business functions to be asked questions that might seem quite personal. A few indigenous groups remain isolated form European culture.aspx. When you have business or social interactions with people from Bolivia. • In a business situation. but want to get a better sense of you as a "whole person". trust and familiarity will likely take precedence over price and perhaps even efficiency. Chiquitano (180. entertaining at one’s home or even inviting someone for the weekend and while these may be seen as casual in your culture. which may include going out after work to personal relationships. The largest of the three-dozen indigenous groups are the Quechua (2.. Many indigenous http://kpmg. Asian. and may be counterproductive. Country Overview The People Bolivia's ethnic distribution is estimated to be nearly 70% indigenous people and 30% European and mixed. many of whom are descendants of families that have lived in Bolivia for several generations. they carry an underlying assumption of friendship. Middle Eastern. although Protestant denominations are increasing. and what may be considered to be "nepotism" in your culture may be openly accepted.2. you will want to remember these points: • The process of relationship building will probably be formal and ritualized. Yugoslav.000). The great majority of Bolivians are Roman Catholic (the official religion). and take time to establish. the expectation is they will last over time and distance. • There are expectations that people have of relationship-based behavior.

8.4%. The most predominant native languages are Aymara and Quechua. or providing the two as separate response choices Religions: Roman Catholic 76.) Note: results among surveys vary based on the wording of the ethnicity question and the available response choices. cholo/chola 2%.) Source: The World Factbook Cities & Regions Bolivia borders Peru to the northwest. other 1.649 (July 2016 est. unspecified 3% . Paraguay to the southeast. predominantly Quechua or Aymara (2009 est. the use of "mestizo" and "cholo" varies among response choices in surveys. resulting in a much higher proportion of respondents identifying themselves as belonging to one of the available indigenous ethnicity choices.culturewizard.6% (2014 est. Aymara (official) 14.. About half of the people speak Spanish as their first language. other 1.2017.2%.aspx. other 1%.5% (2012 est.6%. Brazil to the north and east.9%.969.. 44% of respondents indicated feeling part of some indigenous group. white 5%.) Ethnic groups: Mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry) 68%. the 2001 national census did not provide "mestizo" as a response choice. including some that are extinct (2001est.8%. http://kpmg. 36 indigenous languages are specified. and Chile to the west. foreign languages 2. providing one or the other as a response choice.PrintView Page 11 of 42 communities interweave pre-Colombian and Christian symbols in their religious practices. which along with Spanish are Bolivia’s official languages. Nationality: Noun: Bolivian(s) Adjective: Bolivian Population: 10. Evangelical and Pentecostal 8. Quechua (official) 21. Argentina to the south.) Population growth rate: indigenous 20%.7%. with surveys using the terms interchanageably.2% (2001 census) Note: Bolivia's 2009 constitution designates Spanish and all indigenous languages as official.2. black 1%.1%. none 5. . Protestant 7.) Languages: Spanish (official) 60.7%.

which.. is Lake Titicaca. the largest freshwater lake in South America. merge into the plains of the Gran Chaco.. It conserves its colonial semblance and the customs inherited from its Quechua and Aymara ancestors. This region was home to a great pre-Colombian civilization. The eastern range (Cordillera Oriental) is a towering system of mountains stretching from Peru to Argentina. the semi-tropical Yungas and temperate valleys of the eastern mountain slopes. in the southeast. Cochabamba Called "The Garden City".PrintView Page 12 of 42 The Andes define the country's three geographic zones: the mountains and "altiplano" (plateau) in the west.2. It has a montage of diverse cultures and subcultures. with the winding narrow cobbled street and the courtyards to former grand residences. Santa Cruz Santa Cruz is the economic heart of the country and the gateway to the Chaco plains.culturewizard. on the border with Peru. which is the population center of the country. a plateau 12. Cochabama is referred to as the breadbasket of Bolivia.aspx. The city harmonizes its cultural and architectural heritage.660 m) above sea level. Between the two ranges lies the altiplano. The Andes run in two parallel ranges ("cordilleras"). surrounded as it is by colonial arcades and diverse architecture. The city is known for its open- air markets ("canchas") where you can find almost anything. Government Country name: http://kpmg. The markets offer a variety of goods for day-to-day needs as well as a section known as the Witches Market.800 feet ( It is surrounded by vestiges of the pre-Incan world. Plaza 14 de Setiembre displays the essence of the city. . The western range (Cordillera Occidental) runs along the Peruvian and Chilean borders. In the north. The Metropolitan Cathedral is known for its wooden vaults covered by beautiful pictorial decorations.600 meters).000 ft (3. La Paz La Paz is at the highest elevation of the world's capital cities – 11. 8. which sells unusual ingredients necessary for traditional remedies. The east is dominated by tropical rain forests. San Pedro hill offers stupendous views of the valley.2017. Jaen Street is reminiscent of colonial Spain. The cathedrals and churches are historically and culturally diverse. and the tropical lowlands or plains ("llanos") of the eastern lowlands ("Oriente").

Economy Currency: Boliviano (BOB) Economy . and indigenous law Source: The World Factbook More Government Information Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members in Bolivia https://www.gksoft. French.2.PrintView Page 13 of 42 • Conventional long form: Plurinational State of Bolivia • Conventional short form: Bolivia • Local long form: Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia • Local short form: Bolivia Government type: Presidential republic Capital: La Paz (administrative capital) Sucre (constitutional [legislative and judicial] capital) Independence: 6 August 1825 (from Spain) Legal system: Civil law system with influences from Roman.overview: Bolivia is a resource rich country with strong growth attributed to captive markets for natural gas exports – to Brazil and Argentina. However.2017. 8.state. Links to Government Web Sites . canon (religious).aspx. Background Note: Bolivia An overview of government and political conditions published by the A comprehensive directory of Bolivian government web An online directory of leaders updated weekly by the Central Intelligence Agency.cia. the country remains one of the least developed http://kpmg.culturewizard. Spanish.. Gas accounts for roughly 50% of Bolivia's total exports and will fund more than half of its 2015 budget. Department of State.S.

stimulated economic growth. The global recession slowed growth. Argentina 16. reforms spurred private investment. food and beverages. handicrafts.581 sq km Land: 1. China 5. pose challenges for the Bolivian economy.PrintView Page 14 of 42 countries in Latin America because of state-oriented policies that deter investment and growth. The global decline in oil prices in late 2014 exerted downward pressure on the price Bolivia receives for exported gas and resulted in lower GDP growth rates and losses in government revenue in 2015.culturewizard. A lack of foreign investment in the key sectors of mining and hydrocarbons. South Korea 4. Industries: Mining. . 8. Colombia 6.1%. In 2005.2. Following a disastrous economic crisis during the early 1980s.9%.aspx. southwest of Brazil Area: Total: 1. along with conflict among social groups.7%. and violent protests against plans .partners: Brazil 28. petroleum. but Bolivia recorded the highest growth rate in South America during 2009 and has averaged 5. jewelry Exports . tobacco. The period 2003-05 was characterized by political instability. and cut poverty rates in the export Bolivia's newly discovered natural gas reserves to large Northern Hemisphere markets. racial tensions.3% (2015) Source: The World Factbook Geography & Climate Location: Central South America.3%. In 2015.3% growth each year since 2009.. clothing.280 sq km http://kpmg.subsequently abandoned . MORALES passed an investment law and promised not to nationalize additional industries in an effort to improve the investment climate.2017. Japan 4.1%. smelting. the government passed a controversial hydrocarbons law that imposed significantly higher royalties and required foreign firms then operating under risk-sharing contracts to surrender all production to the state energy company in exchange for a predetermined service fee.. President Evo MORALES expanded efforts to court international investment and boost Bolivia’s energy production capacity. High commodity prices between 2010 and 2013 sustained rapid growth and large trade surpluses. US 12.301 sq km Water:

soil erosion from overgrazing and poor cultivation methods (including slash-and-burn agriculture).805 m). For much of its history.PrintView Page 15 of 42 Land boundaries: Total: 7. making it part of the vice- royalty of Peru. • The Spanish conquered Bolivia in 1538.212 km Coastline: 0 km (landlocked) Climate: Varies with altitude. The country became independent the following year with Simon Bolivar as its president. historically active volcanoes in this region are Irruputuncu (elev. world's highest navigable lake (elevation 3. shares control of Lago Titicaca.culturewizard.aspx. Chile 942 Peru 1.403 km. • Venezuelan freedom fighter Simon Bolivar liberated Bolivia from the Spanish in 1824. Brazil 3. with Peru Source: The World Factbook History Overview • Bolivia was initially populated by the ancient Aymara civilization. Bolivar entered a federation with http://kpmg.163 m).2017. who settled on Lake Titica. Bolivia was called northern Peru. loss of biodiversity. Paraguay 753 km..2.current issues: The clearing of land for agricultural purposes and the international demand for tropical timber are contributing to deforestation. desertification. hills. lowland plains of the Amazon Basin Elevation extremes: Lowest point: Rio Paraguay 90 m Highest point: Nevado Sajama 6. which last erupted in 1995 and Olca-Paruma Environment .. 5. 8. humid and tropical to cold and semiarid Terrain: Rugged Andes Mountains with a highland plateau (Altiplano).note: Landlocked. industrial pollution of water supplies used for drinking and irrigation Geography . . The Spanish were attracted by the silver mines and possibility of quick wealth.542 m Natural hazards: Flooding in the northeast (March-April) Volcanism: Volcanic activity in Andes Mountains on the border with Chile.252 km Border countries: Argentina 942 km.

2. 8. Torrielo resigned two years later when the economy worsened. • In November 2006.. In 1923. nationalization of the tin mines. A military junta gave power to a civilian administration led by Siles Zuazo. • Anti-government protests became violent and leaders agreed to talks to end the continuing crises in September 2008. an assembly began to re-write the constitution to give more power to the indigenous • In 1964. the federation fell apart when Peru lost its war with Chile.culturewizard. this time to Paraguay in 1935 when it lost the Chaco War. • Peasants and miners overthrew the military regime in 1952. the president nationalized four electric companies. The following month. The following month. the president put the energy industry under state control. The following month. Victor Paz Estenssoro returned from exile to become president and introduced social and economic reforms. • Encouraged by attempts to prosecute former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Salinas was soon deposed by the army when Colonel Hugo Banzer came into power. It was approved in a referendum in January 2009. • In May 2006.PrintView Page 16 of 42 Peru in 1836.. a land reform bill to redistribute up to 20% of land to the poor was approved by the Senate. the USA helped suppress an uprising led by Ernesto ("Che") Guevara. • Bolivia became land-locked in 1884 after losing the mineral-rich coastal territory to Chile. In 1980. Vice President Rene Barrientos staged a military coup. the government violently suppressed a revolt by the miners. The following year General Celso Torrelio Villa replaced Garcia who was forced to resign. including universal suffrage.2017. http://kpmg. • The draft constitution was approved in December 2007. . • Siles resigned in 1985 after a general strike and an attempted coup. Bolivia agreed to ship gas from a Peruvian port. General Luis Garcia staged a coup after what he claimed to be meaningless elections. opposition forced demanded an inquiry into Banzer’s role during the repression of the 1970s. Vice President Siles Salinas replaced Barrientos in 1969 after he was killed in a plane crash. • The indigenous Indian populated revolted against the government in 1920. however. Paz Estenssoro became president. Bolivia lost the rubber-rich province of Acre to Brazil in 1903. • A referendum on gas exports was held in July 2004. The country was then run by a series of military dictators who tried to integrate the three disparate regions into one national identity. Bolivia lost more territory. This led to arrangements being signed with Venezuela and Argentina in 2007. In 1997 Banzer was elected president. • In May 2010. • In 1974 Banzer postponed elections and banned political parties and trade union activities after an attempted coup. In 1967. and land redistribution. the gas nationalization program was finalized. • The government attempted to exterminate the coca crop (used to make cocaine) in 2001. He was replaced by Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada in 1993. Vice President Jorge Quiroga replaced Banzer in 2001 as he was dying of cancer and could no longer hold office.aspx.

the government enacted legislation to allow a president to run for a third term. REE. use the appropriate greeting for the time of day: "buenos dias". starting with the left. http://kpmg. and good evening. The government signed an agreement with the USA and Brazil to reduce cocaine production..2. and women kiss once on each cheek. Wait until invited to move to a first-name basis. Bolivia left the UN Conventions on Narcotics when coca was listed as an illegal drug. While shaking hands. Bolivia is a formal culture and this is demonstrated in the use of the formal word for you ("usted"). Opposition politicians claimed the law was unconstitutional.PrintView Page 17 of 42 • In January 2012. good afternoon. they say "podemos tutearnos" ("we can speak to each other with the tú "). respectively. Wait for the Bolivian to determine when your friendship has reached this Greetings tend to become more effusive after a relationship develops—men embrace and pat each other on the shoulder (called an "abrazo"). which means good morning. or "buenas noches".. • President Morales nationalized the Spanish electric company. Address Bolivians with the appropriate honorific title (Señor or Señora) and their surname. Wait for the Bolivian to make this request. . Country Information Embassies Public Holidays Social Etiquette Meeting People The most common greeting is the handshake with direct eye contact and a welcoming smile. in May 2012 because it had not invested sufficiently in the country.2017.culturewizard.aspx. • In May 2013. Only family and close friends are afforded this level of intimacy. When someone wants to move to the informal. "buenas tardes". 8.

you may introduce yourself. you should say goodbye to each person individually. bring flowers. It is polite to stop and converse briefly with each person to indicate you are interested in them as an she usually adds her husband’s first surname to her first surname with the connector "de".. perfume makes an excellent gift. so if Maria Mendoza Lopez marries Antonio Gomez Arnez. avoid yellow or purple ones because they have negative connotations. At larger functions.. • Imported spirits are expensive. she would be called Maria Mendoza de Gomez.2017. This is a culture that prizes the act of giving more than what is received. Introductions should not be rushed. Entertaining How Bolivians Entertain Bolivians enjoy socializing with friends and family.culturewizard. but they should be good quality. your hosts will introduce you to each guest individually. imported candy or imported chocolates to the hosts. 8.2.aspx. . • If you know the person well. so they make an excellent gift. Naming Conventions • Most Bolivians use both their maternal and paternal surnames. When you leave. • If you choose to give flowers. Here are some general gift giving guidelines (but also check to be sure they are permitted under company policy): • If invited to a Bolivian home.PrintView Page 18 of 42 At a small gathering. • Gifts should be nicely wrapped. • Gifts are not generally opened when received. pastries. good quality spirits. • When a woman marries. • Do not give scissors or knives because they indicate a desire to sever the relationship. • The father's surname is listed first and is the one used in conversation. Gift Giving Gifts need not be expensive. • A small gift for the children is appreciated. although they do not http://kpmg.

• Eat everything on your plate. Hospitality is important to Bolivians. Sandwiches are about the only food eaten with your hands. as this demonstrates respect for your hosts. • Send a handwritten thank you note to the hosts the following day. . they may enjoy inviting others to share a meal. Some Bolivians are superstitious and believe that if something is placed in their hand. • In most situations. • Do not discuss business at social gatherings. they will have bad luck. in clothes you would wear to the office. The more formal the occasion. Invitations are generally given verbally. Your hosts will not be prepared and you may embarrass them and yourself. Bolivians pride themselves on their courteous demeanor and using the appropriate etiquette for each situation and judge others on their manners. When in doubt. • When asked to pass an item to another diner. 8. Toasting http://kpmg. However.aspx.. If you are invited to a Bolivian's home: • Do not arrive on time. but do not rest your elbows on the table. If you cannot eat watch what others are doing and emulate their behavior. It is extremely rude to leave immediately after eating. • Dress well. it’s a good idea to wait until the meal is finished before commenting on the food.. • It is considered good manners to reciprocate any social invitation. you may leave it (since you did not put it on your plate).2. if they have spent time abroad. • The host generally says "buen provecho" ("enjoy" or "have a good meal") to invite guests to eat. Even fruit is eaten with a knife and fork. • Arrive between 15 and 30 minutes late when invited for dinner or cocktails. Expect to be offered something to drink soon after you arrive. • Arrive up to one hour late when invited to a party. you are expected to stay for at least 30 minutes after dinner. Therefore. • As soon as you are seated. • Guests are served first. • Keep both hands visible but do not put your elbows on the table.culturewizard. • If you compliment the food. you will be given more. They may be planned in advance or given spontaneously. • Keep your hands visible when eating. place your napkin in your lap.2017.PrintView Page 19 of 42 frequently invite them for a meal. the stricter the protocol. • Food is eaten with utensils. place it on the table next to them. Table Manners Table manners are relatively formal. plates arrive at the table with the food on them.

they will not rush through the discussion in order to arrive promptly. Although many businesspeople attempt to arrive at meetings promptly. You can find more explicit information on restaurant tipping in the Dining Out section above. you may offer to leave the tip. Dining Out Although most restaurants include a service charge. they expect people to be late. it is common to tip between 10 and 15% depending upon the quality of the service. 8. do not leave it on the table. if they are involved in a discussion with someone else. • Restaurants: 5-10% • Porters: 75 cents per bag • Taxis: 5-10% Approach to Time Most Bolivians see people and relationships as more important than strict adherence to a timetable. ask your host "en punto?" ("on the dot?"). Hand the tip to the wait person. In fact.. however. Even television programs are known to veer off schedule. . Bolivians do not expect punctuality for social situations.. Tipping The following tipping hints are guidelines. Guests are expected to reciprocate at a later date to demonstrate their hospitality. Social events seldom start on time. You may have to ask the wait person for the bill in more expensive establishments. tipping an additional 5 to 10% is appreciated. look at the person being toasted. • The most common toast is "Salud!".culturewizard. • If you want to let everyone know you are about to make a toast. This indicates that you want a minute of the person's time. To get the wait person's attention. The person who extends the invitation intends to pay. If you want to confirm whether you should arrive at the stipulated time.2. raise your hand and use your index finger and thumb to make a pinching motion. tap your spoon against your glass and say "Brindis!".aspx. • When you lift your glass. • The host makes the first toast.2017.PrintView Page 20 of 42 • Wait for a toast to be made before taking the first sip of your drink. If there is no service charge.

sports (particularly soccer). Other Situations Ask before taking someone’s photograph. travel. In this hierarchical culture. Bolivians tend to speak softly.culturewizard. especially in public so that your voice does not drown out others.m..2.aspx. being diplomatic and courteous marks you as a person of good breeding. they may think you have taken offense at something they said or they may step forward to close the gap. Direct eye contact is expected since it indicates trust and respect. It is a good idea to follow their example. It is best to avoid contentious issues such as the class structure.PrintView Page 21 of 42 Conversation Topics Bolivians are impressed when visitors learn about their history and culture. However.2017. They frequently touch the person with whom they are speaking on the arm. men and women who have just met may use intermittent eye contact in order to show that there is no sexual innuendo. Faux Pas http://kpmg. shoulder or back. and food are good topics of conversation. If you back away. or rest time. For the most part Bolivians are tactile communicators. religion. Regardless of the subject. Many Bolivians find such behavior intrusive and some even believe that being photographed may bring bad it is a good idea to avoid dropping by between 1 and 3 p. and politics. drugs. If you stop a Bolivian to ask directions. Bolivians do not require a great deal of personal space when conversing. • Elders enter elevators first. it is good manners to telephone before visiting someone without an invitation. greet them with the time of day before making your request. Although Bolivians do not mind if friends visit without an invitation. Family. it is polite to defer to elders in social situations: • Allow elders to enter or leave a building first.. • Stand when an elder enters the room. Unless you are extremely close. • Offer your chair to an elder if there is not a vacant one. 8. because this is the siesta. .

Context comes in the form of words. Generally indirect in their communication styles. 8. indirect and high context in their communication.culturewizard. where context is not as highly valued and brevity is important. Most business is done in Spanish. • Do not wear shorts in public..PrintView Page 22 of 42 Bolivians are sensitive to using the word "America" when referring to the USA.2017. • Maintain eye contact while speaking. It is rude to exclude others from your conversation. Spanish phrases • Good morning (hello): Buenos días • Good afternoon (hello): Buenos tardes • Good evening (hello): Buenos noches • Hello: ¡Hola! • How are you?: ¿Como está? • Goodbye: Adiós • Please: Por favor • Thank you: Gracias • Yes: Sí • No: No http://kpmg. you will be seen as untrustworthy. Bolivians can become very animated and passionate when discussing something they feel strongly about. • It is rude to eat while walking. Keep in mind the following behavior while in Bolivia: • Do not whisper. However. it’s important to realize that your messages might be thought of as rude. People from direct communications cultures should take care to patiently listen for the information needed. Communication Communication Essentials Bolivians tend to be hierarchical.aspx. Key Words/Phrases Bolivia has three official languages: Spanish. If you do not. They view "America" as referring to North.. Bolivians may find that you haven’t given enough background. Central and South America. Quechua and Aymara. Even though you think the information you provide is adequate. gestures and facial For those who come from direct cultures. • Do not flaunt your wealth publicly. .2. it is a good idea to research the specific language background of the people you will be working with.

8. pronunciation guide. and links to more be sure to develop an early understanding of what you expect—specifically. Quechua http://www. rather than what the translator thinks each party wants to hear. pronunciation guide. warm handshake is the traditional greeting between A short video featuring key Aymara phrases..aspx. As most Bolivians show affection easily and are comfortable with touch.2.culturewizard. Aymara http://www. and links to more The Spanish alphabet. friends may embrace ("abrazo") when The Aymara alphabet. Women may lightly brush their cheeks together with an "air kiss" to greet each other. It is a good idea to meet with the translator prior to your appointments so that the person learns your accent and can be exposed to any technical or non-familiar terms that may be pronunciation guide. Developing a thorough relationship with your translator enables them to argue your points with a level of confidence they might not otherwise have. Non-Verbal Language When meeting or greeting someone.omniglot. Aymara http://www.. Using Translators When you select a translator. Be clear that the translation must be Videos featuring general Spanish lessons . Men often accompany this with a pat on the back. sometimes accompanied by a light touch on the arm. a strong.specific words and phrases may vary in The Quechua alphabet. Have your translator explain to you the most elementary of basic courtesies.PrintView Page 23 of 42 • My name is: Mi nombre es: Spoken Key Phrases Spanish http://www. . Language Related Videos Spanish http://www. and links to more information. http://kpmg.

etc) plus the recipient’s surname. However. The hierarchical nature of organizations. Telephone Third-party introductions are helpful before your first phone call to a Bolivian. as in many Latin American cultures. such as the honorific (Señor. they feel less constrained and consider themselves to be more effective in face- to-face situations.PrintView Page 24 of 42 Women frequently walk arm in arm in public. or when continuing with a written dialogue following an initial face-to-face meeting. and “Yours Sincerely” or “Regards”.2017. you should use formal modes of Mail & Telephone Letters/Email As Bolivians are expressive and tactile in their communication style. be occasions when you need to communicate by letter or email. doctor. As such. the lengthy decision-making process. Express differing points of view or disagreements by fully explaining your position. Bolivia is a formal country. Even when writing to someone you have never met. As English tends to be the universal business language. when writing emails. and how to reach http://kpmg. arrogant or domineering. . Take your lead from them in terms of reverting to a first-name basis. Your first approach to a prospective client should be extremely courteous and emphasize your personal and company history. Similarly. avoid appearing blunt. such as “Dear Senor Garcia”. it is important to build and maintain a respectful yet harmonious relationship. to ask about your counterpart’s health. and is considered rude when not appropriate. However.culturewizard. Señora) or professional title (engineer. Given the emphasis on relationship building in the business culture. may conspire to slow down the communication process. appropriate language. however..2. they are generally accustomed to receiving correspondence in English. It is important to identify who the key decision makers are. Sustained eye contact is important. even desirable. family. unless a Bolivian is communicating with another native Spanish speaker. it is appropriate. Do not expect prompt responses to written communication. written communications should strive for am affable tone with polite formality. There will. use formal greetings and closings..aspx. or mutual interests at the beginning or end of a letter or email. and the desire to respond using formal. Bolivians are accustomed to standing and sitting close to one another even if they do not know them well. winking is considered a romantic or sexual invitation . 8. unless your counterpart introduces a tone of informality into the correspondence.

the handouts should include additional details. • To emphasize a point. This may lead to tangential conversations. Presentations Handouts • Handouts may be given at any stage of the presentation. • If you do not give detailed explanations in the presentation. • Graphics may be used if they are aesthetically pleasing.2017.PrintView Page 25 of 42 those • If you give detailed explanations in the presentation. Given the cultural preference for face-to-face meetings. particularly if technical details were discussed.aspx. Your objective in making a phone call should be to continue to build the relationship. • Localize the materials to include Bolivian references and examples. Presentation Slides/PowerPoint • Presentation materials should be polished and elegant. • Use diagrams and pictures when possible rather than words. only include 3 – 5 key points. • Check with a local national to ensure there are no typos or factual errors. intersperse charts and graphs with written material.2.. Audience • May arrive late.. original and captivating. Presenter http://kpmg. phone calls should be kept to a minimum. The desired tone of the conversation should be friendly. An intermediary can help you navigate “who’s who” in a particular organization. • The decision maker may not be in the audience. 8. and to move the business objective forward. • Handouts should be available in both Spanish and English. • It is a good idea to include a one-page summary as well. the handouts should contain just the facts. yet polite and formal. • If you present an outline. Your counterpart will likely appreciate a follow-up written communication reiterating the content of your phone discussion. . or action steps or other plans were outlined. • May interrupt if they have something to say. and that the language used is appropriate for the Bolivian audience. compounded by the difficulty some Bolivians may have conducting a phone conversation in a second language.

http://kpmg. 8. • Minimize slang. However. • Repeat important points by rephrasing them to ensure understanding. or in the country or region.culturewizard. concise speaking is viewed as somewhat cold and impersonal. Body of the Presentation • Start with the general concept and then work into the specific details. Opening the Presentation • Do not begin the presentation until the most senior person arrives. provide frequent breaks.. only senior members of the organization may pose questions. • Strive for a cordial yet formal delivery style. Avoid hyperbole. Closing the Presentation • Repeat the key message again. • Have coffee available before the presentation to allow the audience to meet and greet the presenter and each other. It is important that you show yourself to be an expert.2017. • Demonstrate technical expertise.2. • Smile frequently and make direct eye contact with the audience to facilitate the way your material is received. • Speak slowly and enunciate your words carefully so they can be understood and/or translated. • Give a concise but well-structured presentation that incorporates the conceptual framework of your proposal and addresses the local context. eloquence and confidence. • Thank the audience. • Shake hands with each member of the audience as they leave. • End with a thought-provoking question or a statement that evokes thought and/or positive emotion. • Shake hands with the audience individually when they arrive. • Use an elegant speech pattern. Direct. • Use case studies or anecdotal evidence as proof of past results – particularly with the Bolivian client’s company. since they may not be understood.aspx. acronyms or jargon. • Invest time in a Q&A period. • Technical aspects of the proposal may be discussed. this only happens if a technical expert is present. . although as roles tend to be well-defined and information tightly held. • Both substance and style are important. • Learn welcoming phrases in Spanish. • Limit the presentation to 15 – 20 minutes to ensure maximum attention. • Then give a big picture overview.. • If you give the presentation in English. • Begin with a bit about yourself and your Page 26 of 42 • Check to see if you will need an interpreter.

• Have one side of your business card translated into Spanish.aspx. .com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. although they may use the 12-hour clock when speaking. "Ingeniero" (engineer). • Use the appropriate greeting for the time of day. and "Licenciado" (lawyer or university degree). Bolivians generally communicate in writing using the 24-hour clock. 2 o'clock in the afternoon would be 14:00 in the 24-hour clock.. 2011 could be written 09.).2017.2011 or 09/07/2011.2. dates are generally written in the day.culturewizard. • Maintain eye contact when greeting people. • Wait until invited before moving to a first-name basis.D. Time The 24-hour clock is a timekeeping convention where the time of a day is the number of hours since midnight. • If someone does not have a title. http://kpmg.PrintView Page 27 of 42 Date/Time Date In Bolivia. the honorific titles Señor or Señora are used with the surname. month and year format with either periods or slashes between each number. each with 12 hours. Business Cards • Business cards are exchanged during the initial introductions. This leaves no ambiguity as to what is the day and what is the month.07.. To ensure there is no confusion. Leading zeroes are used if the day or month is less than 10. 8. Common titles are "Doctor" (medical doctor or Ph. Years are written in four digits. • Wait for a woman to extend her hand. Example: July 9. The 12-hour clock divides the day into two periods (midnight to noon and noon to midnight). Thus. you may want to spell out the name of the month. • Handshakes are generally firm. • Address people by their professional or academic and surname. Business Protocol Meeting & Greeting • Shake hands when meeting and leaving.

PrintView Page 28 of 42 • Present your business card with the Spanish side facing the recipient. • Good gifts include desk accessories such as a pen and pencil set or a desk diary. • Three-piece suits are favored in La Paz. business dress is more relaxed. The way you handle someone’s card is considered indicative of the way you will treat them. what we report is the conservative approach to business attire for a country.aspx. • Include any advanced university degrees on your card..2. • Do not give knives or letter openers because they symbolize a desire to sever the relationship. event. you may ask your colleagues if there is anything you could bring them from your home country. http://kpmg. Gifts Here are some general gift giving guidelines (but also check to be sure they comply with company policy): • Gift giving is usually done after you develop a relationship or at the conclusion of a business deal.2017. • Outside La Paz. • Shoes should be highly polished. it is generally a good idea to check with the local office to determine what the appropriate dress code is in a specific location. although two-piece suits are acceptable elsewhere. and individual organization culture. As such. Appropriate attire varies within countries based on location. • It is a good idea to refrain from giving something expensive. Some industries and companies may have less stringent requirements. . Before embarking on an international trip. • Treat business cards with respect. such generosity might embarrass the recipient. • Bolivian businesswomen generally wear business suits or elegant dresses.. • Gifts may include your company logo. • If you will be returning for another visit. • Business dress is formal in La Paz. • It is recommended that businessmen wear dark-colored business suits with a white or pale blue shirt and a conservative tie.culturewizard. Business Attire The way a businessperson dresses conveys their professional image and their respect for the people with whom they conduct business.

Business Entertaining • Business entertaining is used to develop the personal relationship that then facilitates future business dealings. . • If time permits. • If you host a meal.. • Your host will introduce you to your Bolivian colleagues. 10:00am-5:00pm Saturday Business Meetings Meeting Essentials • Structure: There may be an agenda. Meetings may also be used to relay information. some banks also open 9:00am-1:00pm on Saturday. reciprocate any hospitality you have received.2.2017. • Because of the expense. but seldom over dinner. • Shops: 9:30am-12:30pm.culturewizard.. 3:00pm-6:30pm Monday to Friday. http://kpmg.m. do not order imported liquor when someone else is paying. Business Hours • Offices: 8:30am-12:00noon. • Purpose: Decisions are communicated at • It is best to allow your hosts to initiate business discussions. but it is very general and serves as a guideline.aspx. a bottle of high-quality spirits is generally appreciated. • Wait for your host to offer a toast before sipping your drink.PrintView Page 29 of 42 • When giving something to celebrate the conclusion of negotiations. some also open 9:00am-12:00noon on Saturday • Banks: 9:00am-6:00pm Monday to Friday. 8. • Who attends: People of similar levels within the organization attend the meeting. do so in a restaurant that serves native food. • Business dinners usually start at about 9 p. 2:30pm-7:00pm Monday to Friday. • Business may be discussed over lunch. • Role of Leader: The leader in this hierarchical society is a strong facilitator of the meeting.

com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. Timelines during the meeting act as guides. It is important to re- focus the discussion to the originial subject diplomatically and politely.2017. If there is an agenda. Most Bolivians take vacation during the summer months (January through March).aspx. Agendas • Agendas. Meetings are conducted by a strong leader who sets the pace for the activities. it is loosely followed. http://kpmg. and the week before Easter. are extremely fluid. too. • Both the topics to be discussed and the timeline are viewed as guidelines. The purpose of meetings is to communicate information and decisions that have already been made by more senior management. Employees may be called on to corroborate or clarify facts but they are unlikely to collaborate. Scheduling Meetings Business appointments are required and should be made 2 to 3 weeks in advance. the week before and after Christmas. so they.culturewizard. . If you are visiting La Paz. • Discussions often veer off the subject matter. if used. It is often difficult to schedule meetings during Carnival. but that may still mean about 30 minutes later than the appointed time. • You may ask to include something on the agenda during the meeting.2.. It is important to greet everyone by name. it is a good idea to arrive a day or two in advance so you can become acclimated to the altitude.PrintView Page 30 of 42 • Who participates/speaks: Usually the senior people contribute. Morning meetings are generally preferred. A handshake or a kiss on the cheek are usually exchanged at the start of the meeting and when it ends. and there is time when people discuss non-business issues.. Meetings will continue until the discussion is completed and participants are satisfied. Bolivians who are accustomed to dealing with international businesspeople often strive to arrive on time. Confirm meetings by fax or email one week before the meeting. 8. should be avoided if possible. It is important that you arrive on time and are prepared to wait.

They view bluntness as extremely rude.. Bolivians do not like admitting they have made a mistake. The Bolivian embassy in your country. It is imperative to show deference and respect to those in positions of authority. The closer the relationship between two people. it is best to err on the side of formality. They tend to be kind and gentle in both manner and speech and expect the same of others. learning key phrases in Spanish indicates the desire to develop a long-term relationship. However. Expect a fair amount of small talk before getting down to business. They will generally tell you what they think will please you rather than what they actually plan to do..culturewizard.PrintView Page 31 of 42 Conducting Meetings The communication style in business is formal. If your Spanish is not at a conversational level. or back of another man while speaking. The general demeanor conforms to European rules of courtesy. Bolivians prefer to get to know people before doing business with them. . the less likely they are to disagree publicly. or the Chamber of Commerce in the specific city can generally suggest such a person. Do not back away or you will be seen as rejecting the person. It is imperative not to let someone think that you do not trust them. 8. Calling attention to an error demonstrates a lack of breeding. Use the formal word for you ("usted") rather than the informal "tú". Management Styles Relationships This is a culture where personal relationships and introductions are extremely important. it is wise to hire an interpreter. Avoid confrontation.2. Maintaining direct eye contact while speaking demonstrates trustworthiness. when you first meet. Therefore. Bolivians stand very close when conversing. Most business is conducted in Spanish. http://kpmg. since trust and personal relationships are the cornerstone of They are also non-confrontational and will go out of their way to avoid saying no.2017. although the business elite generally speaks English. your country’s embassy in Embassy. A man may touch the arm. shoulder. Bolivians are indirect communicators who endeavor to speak diplomatically.aspx. Most international companies use a local representative or agent for this vital role. Another excellent place are trade association meetings.

2. could end your relationship since you have caused the person to lose their dignity. It is better to err on the side of being overly formal rather than jeopardize a business relationship by being too informal and appearing flippant. Business is discussed after prolonged getting-to-know- you conversations. In Bolivia. it is important to be courteous and polite and treat those in positions of authority with particular respect and deference. Interpersonal relationships ("personalismo"). This is a country where "who you know" is often more important than "what you know". especially if done publicly. Spend time cultivating relationships and maintaining them once they are formed.. nepotism does not have the negative connotation it has in many other countries. Management Essentials If you were to think about the most important cultural attributes that you will see operating in business in Bolivia they would be: • Hierarchical structure • Formal style • Interpersonal relationships • Indirect communication Due to the formality of business. .2017. Most businesspeople maintain a network of extended family and friends to call upon for assistance. so choose a first class international hotel. are the linchpin of successful business. Relationships are built upon trust and personal honor.. too. Do not embarrass a business colleague. and social outings. A Bolivian’s dignity must be maintained at all times. Bolivians will want to get to know you as an individual.PrintView Page 32 of 42 Bolivians prefer face-to-face meetings rather than doing business by telephone or in writing. dinners. which are seen as too impersonal. Appearances matter to Bolivians. Doing and collecting favors owed is a highly developed art form. 8. over extended lunches.aspx. In general. managers may take a http://kpmg. You. will lose dignity with others since you have broken the unwritten rule of allowing someone to maintain their dignity and respect. including loyalty to family and friends. as in other hierarchical cultures. It is very common for business discussions to be conducted in cafés. Although changing somewhat.culturewizard. They will judge you on where you stay. Telling them that they are incorrect. business is conducted with individuals rather than the company they It takes time to develop relationships: this can be done in the office. since most businesses are small and family-owned. build in a bit of slack. although this. Although most Bolivian businesspeople understand the need to adapt their business practices. It is not that Bolivians don't see deadlines or schedules as important. This is starting to change. but extremely slowly. it is only appropriate for the owner to take risks. Bolivia was named the most entrepreneurial country in the world due to the number of fledgling small businesses. Changes can be made. but must be approached slowly and with sufficient background information so that the most senior Bolivian can thoroughly evaluate the situation and develop an implementation plan. Schedules & Deadlines Bolivia is a fluid time culture due to the heavy reliance on relationships. Since Bolivians accept that the bureaucracy may stand in their way. It is very common for deadlines to be missed.2. too. . Decision Making Company Structure Many companies are small and family owned. In 2008. it is a good idea to discuss the reality openly with the senior Bolivian to determine what is actually possible. Then. the fact that something is new is not sufficient reason to implement a change. but it cannot mitigate the red tape inherent in business. Since tradition is valued. 8. Hierarchy is important.culturewizard.. Setting milestones is also a tactic that might help. They may demonstrate concern for employees that goes beyond the workplace. When setting a deadline or schedule.aspx. they are less inclined to try to meet the timetable. is changing. it is a combination of red tape and the need to maintain relationships.PrintView Page 33 of 42 somewhat paternalistic attitude toward their employees.2017. Risk Tolerance Bolivia has a medium tolerance for change and risk..

Decision Making Decisions are reached at the top of the company or at the board level when the decision is especially important. it is important not to pressure Bolivians for agreement at a meeting.. Team members will defer to the team leader and expect this person to define the scope of the project and delegate tasks according to skills or personal relationships. Subordinates follow a manager’s instructions without comment. Some Bolivians prefer to work for expat managers since they are not as likely to discriminate among subordinates based on race or social class.2017. It is not common to reach decisions at meetings. although there is a tendency to prefer working with others with whom they have a personal relationship. Since Bolivians believe business should be win-win. since it would be rude to challenge someone of a higher status. Sometimes. Team Focus Since Bolivians are accustomed to collective work. Providing constructive criticism should be done in private so the employee maintains his or her personal honor and dignity. decisions are reached after seeking input from key the stakeholders. Negotiations http://kpmg. managers are clearly in charge and are expected to delegate tasks without asking for subordinates' preferences.2. There can often be a great deal of team member rivalry and jockeying for position.aspx. Therefore. they can work well together on teams. they attempt to find solutions that are in the best interest of all concerned. 8.. they must rely on demonstrating excellent leadership qualities. Team leaders are treated with the same deference and respect as a manager would receive.PrintView Page 34 of 42 Managing Employees As you would expect in a hierarchical culture. not to Praise should be given to the entire group. . It is viewed as hostile to publicly correct an employee.culturewizard. It is the role of the team leader to manage the situation and not let it get out of hand. They tell subordinates what they want done and how they expect them to perform the task. Since expats seldom have the same intricate web of contacts to protect their position. This helps maintain the group cohesiveness.

2.culturewizard. 8. Decisions are often based upon the personal preference of the decision maker.. They are viewed as confrontational. Decisions are not made quickly and personal visits are extremely important. Bolivians strive for win-win Page 35 of 42 Personal relationships are important to Bolivians. Relationships are more important than business documents. Bolivians are skilled negotiators and drive hard bargains. Appearing angry or frustrated could also end the negotiations. Negotiations and decisions take a long time. Agreements may be reversed until the final contract is signed. or you may have to start the process over. It may take several visits to accomplish a simple task. therefore they spend time developing relationships. which can greatly increase the time it takes to come to an agreement. Avoid high-pressure sales tactics. They prefer to deal with those they trust. Contracts are negotiated in stages. . Moving There Advice and Tips for Moving Customs Regulations Entry Requirements http://kpmg. Attempting to push for an agreement could end the negotiations. You must be patient. Bolivians negotiate with people. which is why spending time to develop trust and personal relationships is crucial.. Politeness and courtesy are important. Do not change your team during negotiations. You will be expected to make concessions. not companies.2017.

culturewizard. .2017. 8.. Before You Go • Take time to get all of your financial and personal records in order.2. dial: Ambulance: 118 Fire: 119 Police: 110 Emergency Numbers Emergency Telephone Numbers To reach emergency services from a local telephone. Terrorist attacks and kidnappings have simply brought all security concerns to our awareness. weather and geographic problems also pose risks. we think of political situations as causing safety concerns. http://kpmg. dial: Ambulance: 118 Fire: 119 Police: 110 Safety Precautions Today. including preparing a will.PrintView Page 36 of 42 Getting Around Getting There Safety & Security Emergency Numbers Emergency Telephone Numbers To reach emergency services from a local telephone. this information is compiled for travelers in general and will apply in varying degrees to your destination and personal situation. but ordinary crime. pickpockets and spontaneous political demonstrations. With the exception of the emergency telephone numbers. The wise traveler is cautious about hurricanes and earthquakes along with hotel

your glasses (if necessary). • Use the room safe or hotel safe deposit to dress.2. ◦ Use a hotel known for its security and be sure that whatever type of transportation you use.. and who to be watchful of. Seek information from cultural experts and local nationals whom you have confidence in. it is reliable and safe. 8. • Travel with a flashlight.2017. (They will also http://kpmg. • Do not display your guest room key unnecessarily. a pair of shoes and some money by your where you can go and where to avoid. be extremely cautious and circumspect.PrintView Page 37 of 42 • Talk with a trusted family member or friend about what types of emergencies might arise in your absence. • Be sure you have enough of your prescription medication so you are all right if you cannot get a refill right away. When in comes to your safety.aspx.) • Read the fire safety information and know what you would do if you need to evacuate. • Be sure someone knows where you will be and how to contact you in emergencies at all times.. (Remember to safeguard your passport. . ◦ Find out all the gender-based restrictions and abide by them. keep your room key. ◦ As a rule. • Do the same with crucial health documentation. In-Country So many variables go into being safe. and many of them revolve around understanding the specifics of where you are. valuables and other important items.culturewizard. • Think about the small (and large) disasters that could occur at home during your absence and be sure there is someone prepared to assist you. take an extra pair of glasses if you wear them. ◦ Ask hotel concierge or front desk manager to assist you whenever you have questions about your safety. • Don’t let strangers into your room. Know exactly where the nearest fire exits are. • Women traveling alone will have different issues depending upon the morés of the society you’re visiting. how to carry yourself. • Lock your door and do not answer it until you feel comfortable that you know who it is. how to act in public. obtain and make several copies of important emergency company contact numbers to keep and give to all members of your family who might need them. and what to do in those events. Hotel Safety • Know how to call for help AND what to say. don’t be afraid to ask. • Hide personal documents. Be sure to learn details of your location -. • Find out the services your company offers to you in case of emergency. • Make copies of all of your travel documents (including detailed itinerary with contact numbers) and be sure two people have easy access to them. • In the event that you might need to leave your room quickly.

aspx. such as a lost passport or the need for money because yours has been stolen. This is not only wise for business and social purposes. but by identifying sources of local news. 8. Emergencies • In an emergency that requires help by your government. Safety in Your New Home City • Learn about your host country and culture.2.culturewizard. expensive cameras. be very careful to guard your property at all times.. and you never know when a potentially dangerous situation can develop. your company should have guidelines for your safety. PDAs and cash are easy targets. • Watch out for pickpockets who will try to distract you in many different ways while taking your money. if you wish walking you to your room very late at night or escorting you from a parking lot to the hotel lobby). certainly understand written and unwritten laws and codes of conduct. always be sure that close family or friends have accurate contact information so they can find you quickly. • Carry as few valuable items with you as possible when you know you’re going to a crowded area. For example. the safer you’ll be. • Embassies Around the World • Even if you are living in a relatively safe country. • For helpful information: Helpful Tips • If you are living in a high-risk location. • The more you know about your location. but is extremely important so you can understand what may be offensive or negligent behavior. Even groups of children can be working together to divert your attention while one will steal your money. Be sure you have 24-hour hotline numbers and appropriate contacts who can assist you. Keep informed—not only with your country’s published data and warnings. The following websites offer specific advice for women: • Travel Tips for Women • Best Women's Travel Tips • Her Own Way: A Woman's Safe Travel Tips • Tips for Solo Women Travelers Women Travelers Travel Tips Crowded Situations • When you’re in crowded places. reading local papers and telling your local friends to keep you informed.PrintView Page 38 of 42 arrange for you to have help.. These people are here to help contact: Embassies Around the World http://kpmg. • No matter where you live—high risk or low risk countries—today’s world is volatile. • Use your Embassy. .

practicing common sense based upon knowledge of your location will help you. keep enough cash on hand so you will be all right if there are power failures and ATM machines don’t work. You might want to contact: International SOS to see if you qualify for some of their services. With the exception of the emergency telephone numbers. International SOS provides emergency medical and evacuation services for individuals and companies. For example. Clearly the length of time you spend and the geographic and political profile of the countries you’re living in--or traveling to--will make a difference in your level of preparedness. Keeping yourself and your family safe anywhere you go—whether it is an extended trip within hours of your home or a long-term assignment halfway around the world—requires planning and active follow-through. nor is it a stroke of luck.PrintView Page 39 of 42 • Make sure you know the name of the firm your company has selected for medical emergencies and evacuation services. . You might want to contact: International SOS to see if you qualify for some of their services. Nonetheless. International SOS provides emergency medical and evacuation services for individuals and companies. • For the most current..2017. contact: Embassies Around the World • Make sure you know the name of the firm your company has selected for medical emergencies and evacuation services.2. Emergencies • In an emergency that requires help by your geographic-related concerns. up-dated information.aspx. we recommend the following government sites as quite comprehensive and easy-to- understand: Australian Travel Advisories Canadian Travel Advisories UK Travel Advice US Travel Warnings • Read about other precautions you should take for weather. Don’t underplay the importance of understanding what is culturally appropriate—it may help you avoid some difficult situations. http://kpmg.. this information is compiled for travelers in general and will apply in varying degrees to your destination and personal situation. Always check to see what services your company may offer to you. Prepare For Your Destination • Read about security and safety issues in the countries you’ll be traveling to or living in. 8. Security Issues Security is not simply a state-of-mind.culturewizard. such as a lost passport or the need for money because yours has been stolen.

S. independent taxi cabs may pose specific problems.2. • Dress conservatively. phone and hours of operation.state. • Do not leave laptops. quickly walk the other way. offers a wide-range of information to travelers of all nationalities: http://www.aspx. • Learn about transportation in your location—what’s safe and what can be problematic and when. http://kpmg. Your interpretation of this guideline needs to be based on local practices and customs. Contact your Embassy for detailed information.S. • Avoid calling attention to yourself by wearing fancy jewelry or carrying other expensive items.. buses. • Avoid disturbances and loud arguments. Trains. . When they occur. if asked. report it immediately to the nearest appropriate Embassy or consulate. • Be able to answer questions about your luggage and be able to open all suitcases and packages immediately. • Use your business address on your luggage tags. • Be sure to respond completely to requests by security officials and avoid comments about security that could be misinterpreted. if possible. fire and other emergency personnel. • Whenever possible carry valuables and important prescription medications in your carry-on luggage.culturewizard.2017. the U. State Dept. Find out before you go if it is preferable to hire a private driver and car.. credit cards and other valuables. you could run the risk of being misinterpreted and perhaps becoming a target if your clothing is provocative or offensive. read safety literature and be sure you know where emergency exits are located. do not pack valuables in your checked Moving Around Safely • Always remain alert. • For general information when you are en route. The U. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has in- depth information regarding all regions of the world. If it is lost or stolen. You may need to reach the police. En Route • Protect your passport. Otherwise. Be sure you know the words to use in the local language. it is one of the most valuable items you possess--so protect it as you would cash. • Ostentatious jewelry will also draw attention to you.PrintView Page 40 of 42 • Be sure you know how to contact (and get to) your country’s Embassy and Consulate wherever you are traveling—you need the location details. • When you’re on the plane or train. Be sure you know how to call for help in an emergency. Attire you may think is perfectly acceptable. subways. may not be so you’ll be well served to learn what is appropriate. computer bags or other luggage unattended at any time. Embassies Around the World • See if there are any health-related issues in the countries to which you’re traveling.

S. • Be sure to know enough of the language to call for help.. and deserted train stations. Consider marking and tagging the pages of a phrase book with these types of important phrases. give them your valuables—money and passport—and do not fight back. • Be wary when you are alone in lifts. ask colleagues or people who work in the hotel if there are things you should know about that area. such as poorly- lit streets. even when you’re going to business appointments. • If you cannot speak the local language. • Avoid areas where you can become a victim of crime.. *Sources: U.aspx. Get off if someone suspicious gets on. keep your doors locked and windows closed. Identify the location of the emergency alarm system. • If you find yourself alone in a train car or compartment after everyone else leaves.2017. and never pick up hitchhikers. Know Where You’re Going • Ask people in the hotel what areas you should avoid.culturewizard.PrintView Page 41 of 42 • You should also ask your company about specific transportation guidelines they’ve established for your safety. learn to use the local pay phones and keep change with you. • Make others aware of your specific whereabouts. . carry the card of your hotel or your address with you at all times--as well as your destination address. Transportation Security Administration Settling In Accommodation Arrival Procedures http://kpmg. • If you drive. you may feel safer moving to an occupied car. • When you have a specific location you’re going to. 8. • Experts say that if someone does attack you.2. • Even when you have a mobile phone. .PrintView Page 42 of 42 Conversions Family Corner Health and Safety Media Money and Banking http://kpmg...2. 8.2017.