Establishing An Industrial Business in Brazil: A Case Study Assessing Cultural Issues

Clay, James R (2012) Establishing An Industrial Business in Brazil: A Case Study Assessing Cultural Issues. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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Brazil is becoming increasingly important on the world stage both economically and politically. The Brazilian government also has a strong policy of local content for many contracts. Companies looking to leverage growth opportunities in Brazil must be capable of establishing successful operations adapted to the local context. This study seeks to assist companies in anticipating and managing the cultural differences they will inevitably encounter. It does this by developing a methodology and applying it to the case of a US-based sector of a UK manufacturing company extending its scope of activity in southeast Brazil.

Design Methodology

Semi-structured interviews with senior executives and focus groups with staff were used to explore the cultural issues qualitatively. A questionnaire based, Hofstede-like culture tool was used to understand the cultural profile of the focus group participants quantitatively. This mixed method approach sought to provide a level of robustness in the research findings through triangulation.


The cultural differences and issues experienced by the participants focused on the importance of relationships, effective communication, managing hierarchy and awareness of group orientation. The focus group participants showed a high degree of cultural homogeneity making it difficult to draw clear linkages from the quantitative results. The three recommendations to manage cultural differences were: intentional development of cultural intelligence; encouragement of effective relationships through organisational structures and activities; and clear governance and accountabilities to drive clarity and performance across the cultures. The study found that the methodology had been effective in identifying key issues and was suggested for application to other situations.

Research limitations / Implications

Additional case studies testing different methodologies are required to provide a robust basis for developing a sound generic approach to identifying cultural issues and ways of managing them successfully. To validate the conclusions, further case studies, including longitudinal ones, would be required.


Although a number of studies have been done focusing on the cultural issues in Brazilian companies or foreign companies which have acquired Brazilian companies, there appears to be a lack of research in the area of approach to gaining cultural intelligence as part of setting up a new business in Brazil. This study seeks to make a contribution to that endeavour while also being an example for other countries.

Key Words

National culture, organisational culture, Brazil, US, cultural intelligence, Hofstede

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2014 09:17
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2016 03:23

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