Culture refers to the norms, values and conceptions which influences an individual’s behavior. They are usually not tangible things though they greatly affect or influence the reactions or response of an individual to certain circumstances. Different communities have different cultures which are usually expressed through the various artifacts and symbols as well as ceremonies and traditions. The national culture of a place is usually expressed through the language spoken, the religion practiced, the etiquette and attitudes of the people, body language as well a literature, arts and music in such a country.
The national culture of a country influences the way things and business are carried out and as such the performance of different entities within the country. Brazilian culture Brazil is located in the southern America and it is characterized by different and diverse culture which is as a result of cultural and ethnic mixing between the Africans, the native Americans and the Portuguese which occurred during the colonial era which. Other groups of people which have greatly influenced the culture of Brazil are the Spanish, Arabs, the Germans and the Italian immigrants who settled in Brazil between the 19th and the 20th century.
This diverse nature of Brazilian people has given rise to a national culture which is so diverse. Portugal however was the major country which greatly influences the culture of Brazil since it was its colonizer. During the colonization period, the Brazilian people were having close contact with the Brazilians especially because Portuguese colonizers inhabited Brazil in large numbers. The slaves who were mostly black Africans also influenced greatly the formation of the Brazilian culture (Nava & Lauerhass, 2006).
During the colonial period, the Portuguese wanted the Brazilians to be civilized and thus introduced Portuguese language as well as Catholicism. Portuguese is the most widely spoken language in Brazil although Spanish is also spoken in some parts. English is the second language which is spoken after Portuguese. However, the Brazilian Portuguese is different from Portuguese which is spoken in Portugal and other Portuguese speaking countries. The Brazilian Portuguese contains additional words which are coined from their native language.
Most of the Brazilians can speak English though not frequently while a good number of them can hear and understand Spanish though they may not speak it. As mentioned above, Catholicism is widely practiced with most of the individuals thus being Christians. Brazil is one of the countries which have the largest number of catholic population although other beliefs like Hinduism, ayahuasca, spiritism, Judaism and Buddhism have evolved overtime. Other groups of Christianity like the Mormon Church, Methodism and Pentecostalism are also gaining root in Brazil.
An annual religious celebration known as carnaval is held in Brazil for forty days and it is celebrated before Easter which marks the lent period (Thomas, 2007). The Brazilian music is composed mostly of traditional styles for example samba, frevo and forro among others. Brazil also has classical music which dates back to the 18th century. The music industry in Brazil is marked by diversity especially after Brazil become democratic in 1985 whereby hip hop music was largely adopted.
Music in the past was largely influenced by social classes which existed between the rich, the middle class and the poor people. However, most of the traditional songs were neutral and did not favor any class thus unifying the country music industry. Another important feature of Brazilian culture is their literature which can be traced back to the 16th century. Portuguese explores during the colonial period wrote different poems, plays and chronicles describing Brazil. Brazilian writers started writing soon after independence in 1822 which marked the beginning of natives’ prominence in literature.
They also have a folk literature tradition although little of is known internationally. This folk literature is usually done by displaying verses in a booklet format which are hanged on the wall using strings in rhymed verses. This is common in the northeast region where illiteracy level is still high (Nava & Lauerhass, 2006). As mentioned above, carnival is one of the most celebrated events and acts as symbol of the Brazilian people. During this celebration, costumed dancers as well as musicians form parades both formal and even in the streets for a period of four days.
This event is celebrated nationally with carnival symbolizing national ethos especially because it depicts the dualities of life of the Brazilians which is divided among the poverty and wealth, female and males and Europeans and Africans. Football is also another highly celebrated activity in Brazil. During major soccer matches like the world cup, all national attention is diverted to soccer with most of the people wearing clothes decorated with colors of their national flag (Garibaldi de Hilal, 2006).
Brazilians unlike people in the North America have little sense especially of personal space when it comes to their etiquette. The Brazilians may be found in large and also crowded areas which do not bother them. Respect is usually accorded according to the dressing code of a person. To command respect, one thus has to wear appropriately to fit his or her class as dressing is used as a symbol of class. Also, these people tend to physically expressive and they convey some of their emotional information via touching. Touching in Brazil is translated to mean friendship or concern about the welfare of the other person.
Women are more inclined to touching and kissing their fellow women as a sign of greetings while men usually pat or bear hug their male counterparts. People like doctors, professors and priests among other are addressed using their titles which is them followed by their first names. Body language is also used in Brazil and is usually varied depending on the social class or standing of an individual. Domestic or house servants greet their masters usually by a limp handshake while slightly bowing the head and lowering the eyes. They address their masters with respectful you (senhora) while masters address servants as voce.
Graduates and other educated persons are addressed as doctor. The Brazilians are not bothered by nudity and this is verifiable through scanty dressing that is worn during carnival (Nava & Lauerhass, 2006). In Brazil, personal relationships are valued with body language being highly used while expressing emotions. Touching is one way of expressing concern, friendship and even interest on the other people’s point of view. People who tend to keep their distance while talking to their counterparts are usually considered to be cold and uninterested.
Also the national language that is Portuguese is highly valued and even those who can speak English prefer speaking in their native Portuguese language. The Brazilians also value or regard highly their symbols which include the carnival and soccer (Garibaldi de Hilal, 2006). The national culture of a country affects in a great manner the running of the national affairs as well as the businesses. While carrying out business activities in an area, it is vital to understand the culture which the community holds as this would influence workers motivation and commitment to the business as well as the community’s perception of the business.
Apart from the expertise or experience of the workers and the managers, national culture contributes in largely to the growth or stagnation of a business and as such it should be treated carefully. Knowledge of the Brazilian culture would influence greatly how a business is to be carried out in this region. As mentioned above, personal relationship is very important to the Brazilians and as such, this would impact greatly to the way a business operates. While carrying out business in this region, it is vital for the managers to ensure that they create personal relationships with their workers as this would act as a motivation factor.
Managers who keep their distance may be viewed as being cold or rude in Brazil and as such, understanding the culture of the Brazilians would help in managing and running a business successfully (Ferreira, et al, n. d). Brazilians also respect and adore their symbols which are mainly soccer and carnival celebrations. During this period, most of the Brazilians are committed to the celebrations and as such may not be willing to work as usual or for long hours. Understanding the value the Brazilians attach to these functions would influence how activities of a business are carried out.
This is more so because these celebrations are nationally accepted as part of their culture. During the festive period, the business may be run fewer hours be closed till the festive seasons is over. Learning to value what the native Brazilians value would help in establishing an entity in this region and also earning the commitment of the workers to the business (Ferreira, et al, n. d). Conclusion For any business to be successful, it is vital to ensure that it observes and values the national culture in existence in a particular area.
The culture of a community or a country determines the attitudes, behavior and response of the workers in an organization and as such, managers should ensure that they fully understand the national culture existing in a country as this is bound to influence not only the workers performance of tasks but also the running of the business. A company deemed to esteem the national culture is more likely to be successful that a company comprising of good management team but which does not respect or observe the national culture. Reference: Ferreira, M. C. et al (n.
d): Organizational culture in Brazilian public and private companies. Retrieved on 2nd April 2009 from, http://ebooks. iaccp. org/ongoing_themes/chapters/ferreira/ferreira. php? file=ferreira&output=screen. Garibaldi de Hilal, A. V. (2006): Brazilian National Culture, Organizational Culture and Cultural Agreement. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, Vol. 6 Nava, C. & Lauerhass, L. (2006): Brazil in the making: facets of national identity. ISBN 0742537579, Published by Rowman & Littlefield Thomas, V. (2007): Culture of BRAZIL. Retrieved on 2nd April 2009 from, http://www. everyculture. com/Bo-Co/Brazil. html.