Cultural Comparison of Brazil and Sweden
Sweden is officially called the Kingdom of Sweden as it is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. The current king is called Carl Gustav XVI. Geographically Sweden is part of the Scandinavian Peninsula and has borders in the west to Norway, in the east to Finland and is connected to Denmark by the Øresund Bridge. Further it is the third largest country in the European Union and extends to about 450 000 square kilometers. It approximately consists of 9.4 million inhabitants. This is a relatively low population density compared to other European countries with only 21 people per square kilometer. Over 85% of the population lives in the urban area in the southern half. There can also be found the capital city and at the same time the biggest city of Sweden, Stockholm. The official language is Swedish but most of the population speaks very good English as second language. Minority languages are Finish and an indigenous language called Saami spoken in the north. Further the country has a high developed economy and one of the fastest economic growths in Europe in 2010.
1.2 Professional life
1.2.1 Power distance
Professional life in Sweden is dominated by egalitarianism and principles related to this view. People there are likely to see everybody as on the same level without looking at statuses, gender or age. This is represented in the modestly hierarchic organizations with flat structures. Managers like to see themselves more like a coach for their employees. It has to be said that people there focus more on personal responsibility. Therefore status and titles are of relatively low importance with colleagues which is also the reason why they often call each other by first names. Another important point is the high gender equality. 43% of the parliamentarians are women. Also many female are found in top management positions. Sweden is known to be the country with the highest female labor force in the world. To support this there are many possibilities funded by the Swedish kingdom for families of public child care institutions. Further it is typical for the Swedish that they love to maintain their personal space. This means that with partners or colleagues they don’t talk too much about private topics, their families or problems.
1.2.2 Etiquettes and manners
To talk about etiquettes and manners, it is common to shake hands with everyone also when leaving an appointment. Small talk is reduced to a very small amount because Swedish love to come down to business very quick. They see talking about personal topics as unnecessary for doing business. Punctuality is the guideline number one. If you once are too late you have to be sure to think of a really good excuse. Meetings always follow a strict agenda and contain a lot of facts and figures. Therefore Swedish business people communicate in a very factual and clear way. Also English is often used especially within meetings and presentations. Business cards should be printed in English. When it comes to business gifts it has to be said that they aren’t important to the Swedish. Normally they don’t expect any. If you want to bring something to your Swedish colleagues you would do well with gifts that aren’t too expensive like flowers, chocolate or regional specialties from your domestic country. 1.3 Social life
An important thing you have to know about Swedish social life is again their concern about egalitarianism. Everyone needs to be respected in the same way as others and so like in professional life shaking hands, or with younger people hugging or kisses on the cheek are important. Also politeness in form of actively listening to the other and always holding eye contact should be followed. They also say “thank you” many times a day to show respect. Family is very important in the Swedish culture. This is the reason why there is a really good education and also healthcare system...
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