Facts and Statistics
Location: Southwestern Europe, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Spain
Population: 10,524,145 (July 2004 est.)
Ethnic Make-up: homogeneous Mediterranean stock; citizens of black African descent who immigrated to mainland during decolonization number less than 100,000; since 1990 East Europeans have entered Portugal
Religions: Roman Catholic 94%
The Portuguese Language
The 10-million population of Portugal speaks Portuguese, a Romance language which derived from Vulgar Latin. Galician and Mirandese, which are technically classed as separate languages, are spoken by a few thousand people in the north of the country, along the Spanish border.
Portuguese Society & Culture
. The family is the foundation of the social structure and forms the basis of stability.
. The extended family is quite close.
. The individual derives a social network and assistance from the family.
. Loyalty to the family comes before other social relationships, even business.
. Nepotism is considered a good thing, since it implies that employing people one knows and trusts is of primary importance.
. Portuguese are traditional and conservative.
. They are a people who retain a sense of formality when dealing with each other, which is displayed in the form of extreme politeness.
. In Portuguese society appearance is very important, especially in the cities.
. People are fashion conscious and believe that clothes indicate social standing and success.
. They take great pride in wearing good fabrics and clothes of the best standard they can afford.
. Portugal is a culture that respects hierarchy.
. Society and business are highly stratified and vertically structured.
. Both the Catholic Church and the family structure emphasize hierarchical relationships.
. People respect authority and look to those above them for guidance and decision-making.
. Rank is important, and those senior to you in rank must always be treated with respect.
. This need to know who is in charge leads to an authoritarian approach to decision- making and problem solving.
. In business, power and authority generally reside with one person who makes decisions with little concern about consensus building with their subordinates.
Etiquette and Customs in Portugal
Meeting & Greeting
. Initial greetings are reserved, yet polite and gracious.
. The handshake accompanied by direct eye contact and the appropriate greeting for the time of day.
. Once a personal relationship has developed, greetings become more personal: men may greet each other with a hug and a handshake and women kiss each other twice on the cheek starting with the right.
. The proper form of address is the honorific title 'senhor' and 'senhora' with the surname.
. Anyone with a university degree is referred to with the honorific title, plus 'doutour' or 'doutoura' ('doctor') with or without their surname.
. Wait until invited before moving to a first-name basis.
. Use the formal rather than the informal case until your Portuguese friend suggests otherwise.
Gift Giving Etiquette
. If you are invited to a Portuguese home for dinner, bring flowers, good quality chocolates or candy to the hostess.
. Do not bring wine unless you know which wines your hosts prefer.
. Do not give 13 flowers. The number is considered unlucky.
. Do not give lilies or chrysanthemums since they are used at funerals.
. Do not give red flowers since red is the symbol of the revolution.
. Gifts are usually opened when received.
. If invited to a dinner arrive no more than 15 minutes after the stipulated time.
. You may arrive between 30 minutes and one hour later than the stipulated time when invited to a party or other large social gathering.
. Dress conservatively. There is little difference between business and social attire.
. Do not discuss business in social situations.
. If you did not bring a gift to the hostess, send flowers the next day.
. Table manners are formal.
. Remain standing until invited to sit down. You may be shown to a particular seat.
. Table manners are Continental -- the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating.
. Do not begin eating until the hostess says "bom appetito".
. Do not rest your elbows on the table, although your hands should be visible at all times.
. Most food is eaten with utensils, including fruit and cheese.
. Keep your napkin to the left of your plate while eating. Do not place the napkin in your lap. When you have finished eating, move your napkin to the right of your plate.
. If you have not finished eating, cross your knife and fork on your plate with the fork over the knife.
. Leave some food on your plate when you have finished eating.
. Indicate you have finished eating by laying your knife and fork parallel on your plate, tines facing up, with the handles facing to the right.
Business Etiquette and Protocol
Building Relationships & Communication
. The Portuguese prefer to do business with those they feel comfortable with, which means those that they know they can trust.
. Therefore, it is advisable to have a mutual contact provide the initial introduction.
. Expect to invest a great deal of time developing the relationship.
. The Portuguese prefer face-to-face meetings rather than written or telephonic communication, which are seen as too impersonal.
. Relationships are built with people, not companies.
. If you change representatives or people on a negotiating team once negotiations have started, the relationship-building process will have to begin again.
. It is important that you treat business colleagues with respect and not do anything to embarrass them.
. Communication is formal and relies on strict rules of protocol.
. If your Portuguese business colleagues have questions or want clarification during a presentation, they will wait until you have finished speaking and not interrupt.
. Although honest, the Portuguese do not volunteer information unless solicited, especially if remaining silent is in their best interest.
. Although the Portuguese are not emotive speakers and do not use hand gestures, they may be demonstrative when greeting friends. . If you tend to use hand gestures while speaking, you may wish to moderate your behaviour since it may incorrectly be viewed as overtly demonstrative.
. Portugal is a hierarchical culture that respects age and position.
. Defer to those in senior positions and maintain a sense of formality in written communication.
. Do not be concerned if your Portuguese colleagues fail to follow through on promises.
. They have a more relaxed attitude towards time and do not see deadlines as crucial as people from many other cultures do.
. They do not appreciate direct criticism, even if you consider it to be justified
Business Meeting Etiquette
. Appointments are mandatory and should be made 1 to 2 weeks in advance.
. Reconfirm the meeting a few days in advance.
. Initial correspondence should be written in Portuguese.
. Since most Portuguese take vacation during August, it is not an ideal time to try to schedule meetings. It is also best not to plan meetings during the week between Christmas and New Year.
. You should arrive on time for meetings.
. In many circles, 5 minutes late is considered on time.
. Punctuality displays respect for the person you are meeting. If you are kept waiting, it is important that you not appear irritated.
. People from the north are generally more punctual than those in the south.
. A fair amount of getting-to-know-you conversation may take place before the business conversation begins.
. Agendas serve as starting points for discussions; they do not serve as schedules.
. Presentations should be well thought-out, thorough, and backed up with charts and figures.
. Decisions are not reached at meetings.
. Maintain eye contact when speaking.
. Meetings may be interrupted.
. Do not remove your jacket unless your business associates do so.
. Portuguese put great importance on the character of the person with whom they do business, so they will take time to get to know you.
. Wait for your Portuguese colleagues to bring up business. Never rush the relationship-building process.
. Portuguese are very thorough and detail-oriented.
. Portuguese prefer to do business for the long-term although at times they focus on short-term gains.
. Business is conducted slowly. You must not appear impatient.
. Have printed material available in both English and Portuguese.
. Do not use high-pressure sales tactics. Portuguese are offended by aggressive behaviour.
. Portuguese business is hierarchical. The highest-ranking person makes decisions.
. Portuguese negotiate with people - not companies. Do not change your negotiating team or you may have to start over from the beginning.
. Contracts are respected.
Being a Manager in Portugal
In order to achieve successful cross cultural management you will need to understand the business set up in Portugal is hierarchical. Although warm and hospitable, Portuguese are also conservative and traditional. They behave formally and display proper etiquette in all situations. It is important to follow etiquette and not appear overly emotional (especially in the early stages of a relationship), which might be mistaken for aggression.
This is a relationship-based culture, where it is important to allow your business associates to develop a sense of your personal integrity and trust before commencing business discussions.
The Role of a Manager
When managing in Portugal, it is important to keep in mind that each person has a very distinct role within the organization, and maintaining that role helps to keep order. It is the expectation that supervisors have been chosen because they have more experience and greater knowledge than those they manage. Therefore it is unnecessary, and even inappropriate for them to consult with lower-ranking individuals when decision-making.
In Portugal, as in other hierarchical societies, managers may take a somewhat paternalistic attitude to their employees. They may demonstrate a concern for employees that goes beyond the workplace and strictly professional concerns.
Approach to Change
Portugal’s intercultural adaptability and readiness for change is developing all the time. Portugal is seen to have a medium tolerance for change and risk. It is important for innovations to have a track record or history noting the benefits if they are to be accepted and implemented.
The fear of exposure, and the potential of embarrassment that may accompany failure, brings about aversion to risk and the need to thoroughly examine the potential negative implications. While in risk-tolerant environments, failure is perceived as a learning process that encourages confidence in future ventures, failure in Portugal causes a long-term loss of confidence by the individual as well as by others. Because of this attitude, intercultural sensitivity is going to be required, especially when conducting group meetings and discussing contributions made my participating individuals.
Approach to Time and Priorities
Portugal is a fluid time culture, and, as is the case with many fluid time cultures, it is also very relationship-oriented. People in Portugal will not want to upset others in order to push through a deadline.
While timescales and deadlines need to be set well in advance and reiterated carefully, it should be understood that these will be viewed as flexible.
Global and intercultural means that some managers may have a greater appreciation of the need to enforce timescales and as such, agreed deadlines are more likely to be met.
For effective cross cultural management it is important to remember that power is held in the hands of the few. This hierarchical nature is reflected in the degree of formality observed among people in business situations. Great deference is paid to authority figures. Job function, scope of responsibility, and reporting relationships are clearly defined and strictly followed.
Boss or Team Player
If you are working with people from Portugal, it is important to remember the role that hierarchy plays in teamwork and collaboration. Traditionally, the supervisor is seen to hold that position because of superior knowledge and skills. It would traditionally have been unthinkable for someone of a higher position to collaborate with, or ask ideas of one of a lower status.
This is changing somewhat in younger generations, particularly those employed by multinational corporations. If you would like to encourage participation it is important first to clearly establish a non-threatening work environment and communicate clearly that their participation is desired.
Successful cross cultural management will depend on the individual’s ability to harness the talent of the group assembled, and develop any resulting synergies.
Communication and Negotiation Styles
Portuguese put great importance on the character of the person with whom they do business, so they will take time to get to know you. Portuguese prefer to do business for the long-term although at times they focus on short-term gains. Business is conducted slowly and you must not appear impatient. Have printed material available in both English and Portuguese to avoid any possible cross cultural miscommunication. Do not use high-pressure sales tactics as the Portuguese are offended by aggressive behavior.
Portugual related Links and Resources
* Currency - the currency of Portugal is the Euro. Use the free currency converter to compare to dollars, GBP, etc.
* Weather - visit Yahoo!'s up to date Weather for Portugal.
* News - check out all the latest Google news on Portugal.
* Dialling Code - the international dialling code is +351.
* Time - Portugal is the same as GMT.
* Hotels - Hotels in Portugal.
* History - read about the long and rich history of Portugal.
* Free guide to Portugal - travel, people, money, living, driving, articles about Portugal.
information provided by www.kwintessential.co.uk