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BRIC, represents the countries Brazil, Russia, India, and China. These countries are known to be at similar stages of economic growth. The BRIC countries have had a huge success in the past decade with their industrialization and economic success. With the BRIC countries emerging as economic powerhouses and the increasing number of foreign counties increasing to do business with them, ethical rules must integrate into their business practices. An increasing number of companies are moving production to the BRICs in order to take advantage of generous tax incentives, high productivity rates, and cheap labor.
Each country has cultures and values which makes them unique. They also have a very specific business ethic that one should know about if they want to be successful in these countries.
Brazil, known as the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in South America and in the Latin American region. It is the fifth largest country geographically and by population with a population of 190,732,694 according to the 2010 Census.
It is known as one of the world’s fastest growing economies and is part of the United Nations, the G20, BRIC, and groups. Brazil is known for their economy having a growth rate during the world recession in 2008 (Vernengo, 2010). Brazil’s land use is 87% forest/woodland and meadows/pastures and has a climate which is known to be mostly tropical since they have the Amazon. Iron, gold, petroleum, and nickel are some of the many natural resources they are known for.
BRAZIL’S CUTURE AND VALUES
The Brazilians have a unique culture that they share with one another.
First off, the official language is Portuguese which makes up almost 100 percent of the population. Brazilians have a strong national ideology that their land is a “racial democracy”. As far as the Brazilian class system goes, people with darker skin tend to be economically and socially disadvantaged. Class is determined by economic status and skin color. Women make up forty percent of the workforce but are found with lower paying jobs than males such as teaching, nursing, and jobs with clerical duties (Brazil – Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette, n.d.). Common Brazilian foods consist of rice and beans which are put together with meats and fish. The most important meal of the day is a multicourse meal eaten after midday. Middle-class would eat the beans or rice with fish or meat and the lower class would only eat beans or meat during this meal. Now that Brazil is industrializing. The family-centered meal at midday is being replaced with smaller meals that are consumed at restaurants with buffets or fast-food such as McDonalds. The lower-calls who cannot afford this will generally eat at home, buy snacks on the street, or carry food with them at work.
Brazil has a nation dish known as “feijoada” which means “big bean” stew. It consists of a variety of meats cooked with black beans and condiments with rice, fresh fruit, and a side of onion sauce. Different social classes and economic inequality in Brazil has been a problem for a long time. There is a large rate of crime in urban areas such as kidnapping, murdering and assaults. Killing of police officers are common in less wealthy areas as well. “The murder rate in greater São Paulo, for example, is some five times that of the New York metropolitan area” (Culture of Brazil, n.d.). The Brazilian government has The Federal Constitution of Brazil that provides the executive, legislative, and executive independent branches. Voting in Brazil today is universal and required for all literate Brazilian citizens aged from seventeen to seventy and is optional for the citizens who do not have the ability to read and write.
In the country of Brazil there are many unique values the citizens hold. To begin with, the main religion of the country is Catholic. Brazil has the largest catholic community in the world. During the colonial times, there was no freedom of religion which meant that all of the Portuguese settlers and Brazilians were forced to the Roman Catholic faith which in turn made most of the population today Catholic. Another popular Brazilian religion is Umbanda, which is a blend of African and Catholicism religions. Some branches of the Umbanda religion wear white clothes in ceremonies while others do not. During ceremonies, all of the people sing, drink and smoke, being under the influence of the spirits.
“Music and dance are essential in rituals because they facilitate the communion with the spirits and help people in their daily lives” (The Umbanda religion – Brazilian spirituality, n.d.). In Brazil there are very specific way women and men meet. When two males meet, they shake hands with each other while maintaining steady eye contact with each other. When women meet with each other they kiss each other starting with the left check then alternating to the right similar to some Americans. When a woman wants to shake hands with a man, she should be to one extending her arm out first. Hugging and backslapping are also common among friends.
BRAZIL’S BUSINESS ETIQUETTE
When doing business in Brazil there are many things to take note of. To begin with, Brazilians need to know who they are doing business with. As a result make appointments at least two weeks in advance. Face-to-face meetings are preferred instead of written communication so they know exactly who they are doing with. During meetings, business men socialize over coffee which at times can make meeting informal. When exchanging business cards, they are to be done during introductions with everyone at the meeting. One side should be translated in Portuguese and should be presented with that side facing the recipient. Brazilian companies have a vertical hierarchy where the managers at the top make the majority of the decisions. Most of the management is men but recently women are starting to gain these roles as well. When dressing, men should wear dark colored suits. Usually if someone is an executive they will wear a three-piece suit while a two-piece suit is worn by office workers.
Women should wear dresses, suits, or something conservative and make sure their nails are always manicured. When doing business in Brazil there are some do’s and do not’s to be aware of. Always make eye contact because this will show that the business person listening is paying attention, interested, and honest. It should always be expected that a meal will take longer since it is more like a celebration rather than a meal. Food and drinks should always be accepted when offered during a special or business occasion.
As far as things not to do, never give gifts that are purple or black since these are considered mourning colors. Never rush business dealings and always avoid pressuring final decisions since Brazilians take a long time to do this. Never show feeling of frustration since this will look bad for the person wanting to do business with them. Corruption and deforestation should never be brought up since these are current sensitive topics. Lastly, never publically criticize Brazilian counterparts if they need to be told something, it should be done in private so it does not make them look bad (Malinak, 2007). Knowing Brazil’s business etiquette is critical if a person wants to have success making business.
Russia, officially known as the Russian Federation, is the largest country in the world with a population estimate of 143,300,000. It is the world’s largest reserves for minerals and energy resources and is the largest oil and natural gas producer. It is also has the largest forest reserves. Due to Russia’s size, there are many climates. The main climates are humid continental and subarctic. Russia only has two main seasons which are winter and summer. The coldest month is January and the warmest month is July. Between these seasons for a brief time are their spring and autumn. Russia is known for their oil, natural gas, and timber which accounts for more than 80% of their exports abroad. They are the third largest electricity company in the world and the fifth renewable energy producer (Russia, 2012).
RUSSIA’S CULTURE AND VALUES
The Russian citizens have much pride in their country. They have many patriotic songs and poems about their homeland and take pride in their cultural heritage. Eighty one percent of Russia speaks the Russian language. Families are very dependent on each other and are very small, usually with only one or two children per family since women are always working outside of the house. Most of the families live in small apartments sharing with two or three generations (Russia – Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette, n.d.). The most common food of the Russian culture is bread while potatoes cabbage beets and carrots are the main vegetable of their diet. Russians love meat. Lower class has sausage, port, beef, mutton, chicken, and dried or salted fish while the higher class has duck, veal, and salmon. In the daily life of a Russian, breakfast is usually coffee or tea with bread or sausage. Lunch people eat potatoes, soup, macaroni, or rice and can be eaten only in a cafeteria in a workplace or at home. Dinner consists of boiled potatoes, cabbage, bread, or sausage and bread. There is not that much talk about different social classes in Russia any longer.
The “new Russians” are seen to be driving late-model cars such as Mercedes and Jeeps while dressing in designer clothing and wear heavy gold jewelry. Showing off these items demonstrate wealth. Juvenile misbehavior has been increasing significantly along with prostitution, AIDS, and homelessness among children and teens. As far as government goes, they have a parliament that is divided into and upper and a lower house. The lower house is known as Dumab which has 450 elected members while the upper house consists of local governors and legislators from the eighty nine administrative regions (Culture of Russia, n.d.). On top of Russia’s culture, Russian’s values are also very important. The main religion the Russians follow is Orthodox Christianity which is run by bishops and metropolitans.
For most of the Orthodox followers, religious practice concentrates on the affecting experience of liturgy, which is chanted daily, on Sundays, and in long, elaborate services on holy days. Churches and cathedrals are the most important sites to worship at. When two people meet for the first time, there should be a firm, hard hand-shake while making eye contact. If a male is shaking hands with a woman, this handshake will be less firm. When women meet each other they kiss on the cheek three times starting at the left cheek and then alternating. As for close male friends, they first give each other a pat on the back followed by a hug.
RUSSIA’S BUSINESS ETIQUETTE
When doing business in Russia it is expected for a person to be on time to all business meeting. Russians are known for testing patience. In turn, a Russian may be late to a meeting or not start the meeting for one or two hours afterwards to see the reaction the person will give. The best way to communicate in Russia is the fax and email since the mail can be unreliable. Before making a trip to Russia, one must inform the company of the intended business proposal and objectives. When giving a presentation, Russians expect it to be long and detailed and to include to history of the subject. Hierarchy is important to Russians. They respect age, rank and position. The decision makers higher up have authority over subordinates. When exchanging business cards it is usually done after the initial introductions with formal ritual. The business hard should include university degrees and be translated into Russian using Cyrillic text on one side while having the other side be in English.
When dressing, businessmen wear suite that are dark and well tailored with a nice dress shoe. Typically a Russian businessman will never take his jacket off. What a businessman wears demonstrates their image as a professional. Women should dress conservatively in skirts rather than pants. When doing business with Russia there are some do’s and do not’s to be aware of. When first meeting, do shake hands firmly since Russians do this to each other naturally. Always get involved in small talk before starting a business conversation. Most of the small talk will deal with family. When doing business, never be afraid to show emotion and never reward anyone in public because Russians will see this as suspicious are can cause jealousy (Gorrill, 2007).
India. Known as the Republic of India, is the seventh largest country in the world with a population of 1,210,193,422 according to the 2011 Census. It is the most populous democracy and second-most populous country in the world. India is considered a newly industrialized country and is one of the fastest-growing major economies. It has the third-largest standing army in the world. The climate in India is largely influenced by the Himalayan Mountains and the Thar Desert. These both cause winter and summer monsoons. There are four major climates in India which are tropical wet, tropical dry, subtropical humid, and montane (India, 2012). I
NDIA’S CULTURE AND VALUES
The Indian’s have a unique culture. Different states have different languages with the main one being Hindi. Two other main languages are Urdu, and Bengali. India’s culture is based on an hierarchy with the tradition of the caste system. All relationships involve hierarchies such as schools. A teacher is known as a guru and is known as the person with all of the knowledge. At home the father in considered the leader of the family. In the business world the boss is seen as the person responsible for the business. As far as family, people are defined by groups rather than individuals. These groups can range from being part of a region, state, family, career path, etc. This extended family creates a numerous amount of rules, structures, and interrelationships. In the Indian culture, people do not like to say “no”. Instead if something was not available they would tell a person what they would want to hear. If a person asks for something, the Indians must do what is asked and if not, they would be considered rude (India – Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette, n.d.). As far as food goes, rice is the main food in India.
Like the United States where there are people who eat meat and who are vegetarian, it is very similar in India but based on the cast system. Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, and Christians all eat meat except pork, besides the Christians. When in the lower-caste, Hindus eat meat except for beef. Members in the higher castes are vegetarians. Every caste, tribe, town, village, and religion has a variety of traditional ceremonies, mostly religious based that are observed with enthusiasm and wide participation. India’s government is a liberal democratic federal government and is the largest democracy in the world. The country is divided into twenty eight based states for administrative purposes. The central government also administers seven small “Union Territories” (Culture of India, n.d.).
There are many different values that India holds. The main religions in India are Hindu, which makes up of 81.3% and Muslim which is 12% of the country. This is one of the largest Islamic nations in the world. There are thousands of rituals and millions of shrines, temples, and other holy places. Hindus have a large pilgrimage temples where Muslims visit tombs of saints. Most Hindus believe in reincarnation when one dies so when a person rebirths they can go into a new caste system.
Hindus are usually cremated instead of buried. When Indians get married most of the marriages are arranged. Marriages that are not arranged are looked down upon. When people are to meet in India, the eldest person should be greeted first since they have an hierarchical structure. When leaving, each person individually must be given a farewell. More educated people who deal with westerners shake hands. Men shake hands with other men and women shake hands with other women. A handshake between and man and a women tend to be uncommon due to their religious beliefs.
INDIA’S BUSINESS ETIQUETTE
When doing business in India is it smart to make an appointment at least a month or two ahead of time by letter. Business appointments should be made in the late morning or early afternoon between eleven and four. When meeting for the first time it is possible for business not to be discussed at all since meetings start with getting to know people. When a decision is made, it is made by the person with the most authority. When talking to a person who does not have a professional title they should have to title of “Madam” or “Sir”. When exchanging business cards, it should be done after the initial handshake.
The university or degree earned should be stated on the business card and should be given and received with the right hand only. When giving a business card it should also be in the position where it is readable as its handed to the recipient. The business dress code is conservative. Men should wear business suits that are dark colors and women should wear suits or dresses. If business is done in a hotter part of the country the dress code is less formal. One should always remain polite and honest at all times to prove sincerity and politeness. Never be aggressive during business negotiations because this can show disrespect. When offered a drink or food during a business meeting it should always be accepted. If not, it is considered offensive (Gorrill, 2007).
China is the second largest economy in the world and is the fastest growing market economy. It is also the world’s most populous country. As of 2001, China has a population of about 1,347,350,000 with an annual growth in GDP of 9.5%. China’s success has been primarily due to manufacturing as a low-cost producer. This is attributed to a combination of cheap labor, good infrastructure, relatively high productivity, favorable government policy, and a possibly undervalued exchange rate. China’s climate is made up of dry seasons and wet monsoons. In winter the temperature is cold and dry whereas the summer it is warm and moist. Since China has such a complex topography, the climate ranges region to region. Recently there have been problems in Chine with pollution and environment deterioration due to the high population (China, 2012).
CHINA’S CULTURE AND VALUES
Chinese is the official language in China. The social structure is formal and hierarchical. There is a hierarchical class system supported by the Confucian philosophy. At the top of the system there are scholars followed by farmers, artisans, and at the bottom merchants and soldiers. Rice is the main food of China. Grain is grown where the climate is too hot to grow rice. Breakfast consists of noodles or wheat bread or rice with porridge served with shrimp, vegetables, and pickles. Lunch is closely related to breakfast.
Dinner is the largest meal of the day which always includes soup being the last course. If there is a special occasion or family gathering, there will be elaborate meals. For the mid autumn festival, known as the Moon Festival, , “moon cakes” are served which are baked pastries filled with ground sesame and lotus seeds. Business occasions are usually at restaurants that consist of ten or more courses. China is a communist state. The president is elected by the National People’s Congress for a five year term. The NPC had duties to write laws, delegate authority, and supervise other parts of the government. The Chinese Communist Party is the only political party and controls either other small parties (Culture of China, n.d.).
Since China is a communist state, majority of the country is atheist. Twenty percent of the population practice Confucianism and Taoism. Taoist temples consist of a courtyard, a main hall with an alter, and small shrines. Worships take the form of mediation or physical exercise. China has the one child only rule due to the high population it holds. In rural areas, families are allowed to have more than one, perhaps two or three. When meeting with the Chinese, many lower their eyes as a sign of respect. When at a large function it is okay to introduce yourself to guests but at small functions it is polite to wait for the host or hostess to introduce you. A Chinese person should always be addressed by the honorific title and surname unless advised otherwise (Hong Kong – Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette, n.d).
CHINA’S BUSINESS ETIQUETTE
In China, Face-to-face meetings in the workplace are an essential step towards making a sale in most business markets. Only when a face-to-face appointment is secured can it be assumed that the enquiry is a serious one. As in the West, Chinese buyers are busy people and prefer for suppliers to visit them at their offices, unless negotiations are at an advanced stage and the client wants to visit the supplier’s production facilities to look at the scale of the operation. Hierarchical structures of Chinese society and business organizations are based on a strict observation of rank where the individual is subordinate to the organization.
People will enter the meeting room in hierarchical order, as the Chinese are very status conscious. Senior members generally lead the negotiations and will direct the discussion. A long-term relationships are considered more valuable then hurried transactions. When exchanging business cards one side should be printed in English and one in Chinese. The card should be presented with both hands and with the Chinese side facing up. When accepting a colleague’s card study it carefully before placing it on the table, never in the back pocket because this is known to be extremely disrespectful.
When doing business in China, punctuality is important. As far as business attire, men should wear Conservative with subtle colors. Women should avoid high heels and short sleeved blouses. The Chinese frown on women who display too much. Subtle, neutral colors should be worn by both men and women. There are many do’s and do not’s when doing business in China. One must always maintain eye contact. If this is not done one will be considered untrustworthy. The Chinese counterpart should always initiate the formal greeting. One should always address the counterpart by their title and last name. If they do not have a title use “Mr.” or “Madam”. One should never point when speaking as this is considered rude. When being offered food or a beverage, always wait until the host starts. Business should never be discussed when eating or drinking. It is also advised to not use large hand gesture since they are considered distracting to the listener.
To conclude, the BRIC countries have grown rapidly in the past decade with their success in industrialization and trading. Since there is such an rapid growth in business moving into these countries, if a business wants to be successful they need to know the specific practices and beliefs. Going into a country to do business without knowledge of the country’s culture and values will end up turning a business back to where they came from and end up being unsuccessful. Therefore, a business needs to obtain background information and knowledge of the different business ethics for success.
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