Image source: Econ-ity (2014)
Image source: Motta for Brazilian Management Institute (2012)
Brazil is a beautiful and sizeable Latin American country. Located strategically, Brazil shares its borders with ten of twelve South American countries—as well as—the Atlantic Ocean (C.I.A., 2017). It is also home to part of the Amazon which acts as a natural irrigation system, creating an ideal climate conducive for producing natural commodities and raw materials (C.I.A., 2017). Mining, agriculture, and manufacturing are well-developed in Brazil—in fact—it has the strongest economy in its continent (C.I.A., 2017). Brazil is a land of many natural attributes, but currently it lacks the necessary leadership—which is characterized by bureaucracy and corruption—to maintain stability within its economy.
In 2014, Brazil’s GDP plummeted to an all-time low (C.I.A., 2017). Adding to that, Brazil has been experiencing decades of decline in an environment of unequal income distribution (C.I.A., 2017). Despite having the largest economy in South America, in the international arena, Brazil’s statistics place the country towards the bottom of the rank (C.I.A., 2017). For instance, per the World Bank study (2014) as cited by Flueckiger (2015), Brazil ranked in the 120th spot out of the 189 countries that were studied based on the ease of conducting business (with 1st being the best and 189th being the lowest). In addition, the same study found that it takes a stifling amount of time to open a business in Brazil (103 days)—meanwhile—in places such as Mexico, it takes a fraction of that time (6 days), (Flueckiger, 2015).
Brazil’s poor rank on the global scale is thought to be caused by the faulty leadership functions of the Brazilian government. In fact, the problems in government and social structure are a commonly understood and culturally acknowledged by the locals. For example, according to Piques for The Rio Times (n.d.) as cited by Flueckiger (2015)., “When you live in Brazil you have to face bureaucracy every day at work or even in your personal projects. Everybody complains, but things will not change so quickly, as the causes are deeply rooted in corruption (if you want to reduce the delay, you pay…) although I don’t want to generalize here too much. When a procedure takes one hour in Europe, it means twice the time in Brazil, so this greatly affects doing business in the country,”
Corruption is widespread throughout Brazilian culture, both nationally and organizationally (Moran, Abrahamson, & Moran, 2014). Bureaucracy has influence and control over Brazilian business operations in such a significant manner, that a foreigner or lesser-seasoned negotiator may even find the need for a despanchantes—which is an individual who can navigate all the red tape that seems to block the ability to conduct business smoothly (Moran, Abrahamson, & Moran, 2014). Moreover, Brazilians also have a term for the task of getting through the multitude of barriers and political checkpoints, it is referred to as jeitinho (Moran, Abrahamson, & Moran, 2014). The leadership issues seem to have originated from the inability for Brazilian government, organizations, and social structure to co-exist with one another and operate synergistically on anything (The Pennsylvania State University, 2017). Firstly, Brazil is a federated republic, “a type of government made up of smaller areas such as states or provinces where the central government cedes certain powers to the individual areas for self-government purposes” (Reference, 2017). Secondly, Brazil has a segregated social structure and the class one might belong to in Brazil depends mainly on their wealth (Moran, Abrahamson, & Moran, 2014. When this perspective is coupled with human greed, it is not hard to glean how corruption and bureaucracy came to be in Brazil (The Pennsylvania State University, 2017).
Per Borlaug (n.d.) as cited by World Food Prize (2017), “One of the greatest threats to mankind today is that the world may be choked by an explosively pervading but well camouflaged bureaucracy”. In Brazil, the camouflaged bureaucracy is the norm for organizations to have a convoluted approach to getting things done. Moreover, despite the advantages of the land, Brazil appears to have the big fish in a small pond perspective. Yet, the largest economy in South America cannot measure up in the global pond. In short, the complicated government functions, drastic differences in social structure, and culturally expected corruption, all contribute to the economic purgatory in which Brazil remains.
Econ-ity. (2014, September 10). Bureaucracy Efficiency Image Retrieved from http://econitynepal.com/five-answers-to-help-you-prepare-in-dealing-with-nepali-bureaucracy/
Motta, D. (2012, November 2). Brazilian Management Institute. Retrieved March 4, 2017, from https://www.slideshare.net/danielamotta/bmi-leading-talents-in-brazil
Central Intelligence Agency (2017, January 12). Brazil. Retrieved March 03, 2017, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/br.html
Moran, R. T., Abramson, N. R., & Moran, S. V. (2014). Managing cultural differences. London: Routledge.
Flueckiger, L. (2015, August 6). Brazil cost bureaucracy continues to hinder business. The Rio Times. Retrieved March 1, 2017, from The Rio Times, http://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/rio-business/brazilian-companies-need-15-times-more-to-pay-taxes-with-bureaucracy/
The Pennsylvania State University (2017). Cultural Synergy. Retrieved March 1, 2017 from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1826457/modules/items/21654124
Reference (2017). What is a federal republic? Retrieved March 1, 2017, from government-politics, https://www.reference.com/government-politics/federal-republic-57002886854d31f9
The World Food Prize. (2017). About Norman Borlaug. Retrieved March 1, 2017, from https://www.worldfoodprize.org/en/dr_norman_e_borlaug/about_norman_borlaug/