Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic (Portuguese: República Portuguesa), is a country located in south-western Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and by Spain to the north and east. (Jenkins 1996) The capital of Portugal is Lisbon. Portugal claims to be the oldest European nation-state. (Jenkins 1996) Portugal is a developed country and it has the world's 19th-highest quality-of-life, according to Unit. It is the 14th-most peaceful and the 13th-most globalized country in the world, and has population of approximately 10 Million people (CIA fact book). It is a member of the European Union (joined the then EEC in 1986, leaving the EFTA where it was a founding member in 1960) and the United Nations; as well as a founding member of the Latin Union, the Organization of Ibero-American States, OECD, NATO, Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the European Union's Eurozone, and also a Schengen state.
Ethnicity and Religion and Language
The Ethnicity of Portugal consists largely of Homogeneous Mediterranean stock, people of black African descent who immigrated to mainland Portugal during decolonization which amounts to less than 100,000 people and Eastern Europeans have entered Portugal since 1990. Portugal is primarily a large Christian country, with 84.5% Roman Catholics, 2.2% other Christian faiths and the rest comprise of Muslims, Hindus, Baha’i, Buddhists and Jewish faiths. (Gritzner et al.2007 p.56) Portuguese is the official language of the country.
General cultural Formalities
Portuguese people are very traditional and conservative; they are the kind of people to maintain a sense of formality when dealing with each other, which is displayed in the form of extreme civility. i. Portuguese Society
The ‘Family’ is a very important part of the Portuguese culture; it is a stronghold that overpowers many social and economic relations. The entity of the family is the foundation of the social structure and forms the basis of stability (Kwintessential family). The extended family is also quite close. Each individual obtains a social network and assistance from the family. Interestingly, ‘Favouritism’ is considered a good thing, since it implies that employing people one knows and trusts are of prime importance. And most importantly, loyalty to the family comes before other social relationships, even business. ii. Culture associated with Appearance
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. (Poelz & Volker 2008 p.2) Cultural Hierarchy- Social and Business
Portugal is a culture that respects hierarchy. Society and business are highly stratified and vertically structured. The Catholic Church and the family structure emphasize hierarchical relationships. People respect authority and look to those above them for guidance and decision-making. (Poelz & Volker 2008 p.63)
The other feature to be noted is the gender profile. Notwithstanding Portugals low female activity rate and women’s relative lack of labour market experience. (Rollin & Richardson 2001, p.179). This reflects cultural values towards families, where the women usually stay at home and take care of the family. In most Portuguese factories all employees from workers to managers have very little autonomy in terms of financial control and decision making power (Amin et al. 1995), another example relating to hierarchal importance in the Portuguese culture.
Rank is important, and those senior to you in rank must always be treated with respect. This ideal leads to a controlling approach to decision- making and problem solving. In business, power and authority generally reside with one person...
References: Jenkins, Spyros A. Sofos, (1996), "Nation and identity in contemporary Europe", p.145 Routledge.
Gritzner, Charles F, Phillips, Douglas A El (2007), Portugal in cultural transition, Chelsea House London.
Kwintessential Portuguese family 2008, viewed 02nd April 2010, < http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/portugal.html>
Poelz, Volker, (2008), CultureShock: Portugal, Marshall Cavendish, London
Ferraro, G.P (2002), The Cultural Dimension of INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS, fifth edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
Mayrick, J (2009), Global Cultural Entities: Portugal, Chelsea House, London.
Higgins, T, Winter, N (2004), Cultural Identity: Successful Business in the European Union, Vol 2, p.27, Penguin Publications, London.
Moutinhio, L (2007), ‘Visiting Portugal: A guide to social and cultural etiquettes in Portugal’, Portugal Today, 27 July, p.7.
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