Ethics Sample Essay Paper on Hofstede Dimensions of Culture

Hofstede Dimensions of Culture

A Hofstede dimension of culture is comprised of six concepts that are very important in the analysis of culture in a specific country. Through the model, it is possible to have an overview of some major motivators of Brazilian culture; our country of choice for the business, relative to the other world cultures (Hofstede 23).

The power dimension in Hofstede analysis is more concerned with the fact that individuals in a community are equal. The dimension is used in an expression of cultural attitudes towards current inequalities  (Hofstede 12). The powerful distance is defined as extents to which less powerful members in institutions and organizations within a specific country, expect and embrace that power in the specific country is distributed unequally. Brazil believes that hierarchy should always be respected at all costs and the inequalities among the different people in the society are acceptable.

Individualism addresses the degree of interdependence that a society maintains among its members. Individualism depends on whether images are defined in terms of me or us. In individualist societies, all people are expected to look after themselves. When doing business in Brazil it becomes important to create long lasting relationships with your partners. However, when compared to the U.S, preferred communication style should be context rich (Hofstede 13).

 The high scores of masculine show that society can be motivated by competition, achievement plus success, low scores indicate that  dominant values that are in society are two, namely;  the care people have for others and quality of life in the region (Hofstede 25). The major concept is determining what motivates people, the desire to become the best, a concept considered to be masculine, and having passion for what one does. Brazil scores a 49 on these dimensions; this is considered to be an intermediate score.

The uncertainty avoidance deals with extents to which specific members of a particular culture feel threatened by some situation they do not know. Brazil has a 76 on these concepts; this means that it shows a great desire to have rules (Hofstede 24). As a result of the high score, Brazilians are very passionate and demonstrative; they show emotions easily with their bodies.

The long-term orientation describes the way that society has to retain some of the links with the past while dealing with challenges in present situations (Hofstede 24). Many societies deal with these two goals in a different way. Normative societies with low scoring on these dimensions prefer to maintain traditions and norms; they look at changes in society with immense suspicions. Those that score high take a pragmatic approach, they encourage modernity. Brazil scores as an intermediate in this dimension; this means that it slightly prefers traditions over modernity. The dimension of indulgence refers to the extent by which individuals control some of their desires and impulses. Brazil is a high indulgent society; the country has a high tendency towards optimism. They enjoy having fun and free spirited.


Negotiating with Brazilians is similar to the United States; however, it should not be taken to mean that negotiation is a simple walk in the park (Asefeso 12). The knowledge of Brazilian business culture and negotiating nuances can be critical deals. Brazilians have a high personal value for relationships; therefore, it is important to establish a personal relationship before negotiations take place (Tuller 17).

The Americans should expect very slow negotiations. When one is trying to get in touch with decision makers, they should expect communication to be difficult. It is advisable to start with high prices as a little compromise can end negotiations (Tuller 17). The major difference negotiations in Brazil have over those of U.S is the fact that in Brazil, negotiations may be aimed at long-term relationships as opposed to getting a contract. Therefore, if the deal is done, Americans should expect to create a long lasting relationship with the Brazilians.

Cultural components

  1. Business meetings

Dropping in without having an appointment is considered bad behavior in Brazil. Important meetings in Brazil are scheduled two weeks in advance. They are confirmed two days before the meeting. Lunch in Brazil is quite lengthy; this allows business partners to have a formal discussion. Eye contact is important just like in the United States (Tuller 23). In contrast to American meetings, interruptions during meetings are common; they should not be regarded as rude. This is different from the United States where, it is rude to interrupt someone. Meetings in the United States are usually informal and relaxed. Successful meetings are short compared to those of Brazil, which are lengthy.

  • Time (punctuality)

Being on time is another important factor. In some parts of Brazil, they are very casual concerning punctuality. As a guest, it is not polite to be late (Tuller 27). Meetings tend to begin on time. Just like in the United States, being on time means that one has to arrive five minutes earlier. Therefore, many Americans can relate to being on time since they are expected to always be on time. The American negotiations are rushed, because to many of them, time is money. The American should expect things to be slow in Brazil.

  •  Business attire

Appearance is an important thing in Brazil. It is important for a person to look smart. The first impressions are the ones that count most and they determine relationships that you will have with partners. All men are advised to wear conservative dark suits. As a tradition, three-piece suits are used for indication of a very high position; two suits generally indicate the status of office worker (Hofstede 23). Women are more conservative with their dresses as compared to those from the United States, Women in Brazil usually dress to impress and are more flamboyant. When doing business in Brazil, the American will have to do away with the khaki suits that they think are formal, trousers for the ladies are not considered to be formal.

  •  Etiquette and behavior

Brazilians prefer to have face-to-face meetings compared to written communications. Many Brazilians love to know the person that they are working with before they get down to business. It is vital not to embarrass a Brazilian, otherwise; criticizing a person makes them lose face with the other people (Tuller 45). The style of communication is informal and does not require having certain protocol.

  • Decision making styles

When engaging in a negotiation, it is important to note that the people you negotiate with are not necessarily the ones who make decisions. Discussions during meetings are inclined to meander of other subjects; these include even personal matters (Asefeso 67). Brazilians do not always stick to the point and they are not apt to talk things outside the office and after working day. In their decisions, Brazilians have a tendency to meander to profits as opposed to being linear.

  • Women in business

The Brazilians treat foreign business women fairly; they accord them deserved respect.  This has gone a long way to reflect a trend in Brazil (Tuller 45). However, one disappointing thing about women in Brazil, is that it is hard to see a woman who is a manager at a top organizations

  •  Gift giving

Just like in the U.S, presentation of a gift can go a long way to solidify a relationship. The country uses color black and purple for purposes of mourning; therefore, it is advisable to avoid this color when presenting a gift. It is not advisable to give things that are sharp, for example, a set of knives (Asefeso 46). This is because; it can be interpreted to mean that you want to sever relationships. Some smart choices can include books or even small electronics and goods that are unique in the United States

  • Handshakes

Handshaking for a very long time is common, Americans do not shake hands for long, and neither do they do the same to say goodbye. However, Brazilians are keen on this, they expect you to shake hands before you leave the meeting or say goodbye. It is always good to use eye contact especially when you are in a small group (Tuller 67). It is considered appropriate to shake your hands with everyone who is in the meeting.

  1. Business cards

Before making a trip to Brazil, it is always advisable to have printed business cards that display the company information in both the English and the Portuguese. This should display the company information in both English and Portuguese. Cards should be presented when one arrives (Asefeso 78). Text on the business card should face up. It is advisable to shake hands with every person who is in the meeting

  •  Is English used for business?

The main language in Brazil is Portuguese, though English is used by many senior and middle ranking Brazilians. The business executives speak English most of the time; this is because a majority may have studied in Europe or America (Barretto 78). However, English language is not universally spoken. It is immensely helpful for an American who would like to do business in Brazil to have the ability to speak in Portuguese, however, if it is not possible, it is always good to have a translator. One should avoid using Spanish; this is because it can be considered as being culturally insensitive.

  •  Gestures/non-verbal communication

Touching is common; it can involve kissing on both cheeks. The Brazilians may not be keen on eye to eye contact like in the case of the Americans. Personal space is not emphasized and people can stand side by side. It is considered rude if a person steps backward. In the United States, people usually stand three feet away from one another when they are conversing. It is acceptable to be silent for long periods of time when one or more people are together (Barretto 88).


Doing business in Brazil can be rewarding, but at the same time it can result in total failure if one is not aware of the culture and the different protocols that ought to be observed. For an American company that is seeking to have partnerships or extend business, it is advisable to be knowledgeable of the business environment in the country. Generally, Brazilians love relationships. The pace of their negotiations is slow compared to that of the Americans. When doing business in Brazil, it is advisable to pay attention to the cultural components because they can go a long way in determining whether you have a deal or not.

Works cited

Asefeso, Ade. CEO Guide to doing Buinsess in Brazil. Rio: Lulu.Com, 2012.

Barretto, Ricardo. Doing Business in Brazil. New York: American Bar Association, 2002.

Hofstede, G. Culture’s Consequences, Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2001.

Tuller, Lawrence. An American’s Guide to Doing Business in Latin America: Negotiating contracts and agreements. Understanding culture and customs. Marketing products and services. New York: Adams Media, 2008.