Brazilians Working in Denmark: A Study of the Cultural Work Differences Between Brazilian and Danish Employees and How to Accommodate Them

Sofie Orry Amby

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Cultural differences in a workplace often have a greater impact on work efficiency than one thinks: it can create miscommunication, misinterpretations as well as frustrations which will affect the work environment and ultimately affect the company’s bottom line. Having a basic understanding of your own cultural traits and why you behave like you do as well as those of others will help prevent these cultural frustrations and lead to a healthy work environment and an efficient and fruitful teamwork.
While it has traditionally been EU-workers coming to Denmark for work due to the free mobility, it is worth it for companies to expand their search for employees outside the EU borders. Brazil is with its more than 200 million people and a growing group of highly educated people, a great market for seeking new hires, and in the last ten years more and more Brazilian workers have taken the trip over the Atlantic to land a job in Denmark. This thesis aims to examine which cultural work challenges appear when Brazilians move to Denmark to work, and as well as how Danish employers best can prepare for these challenges.
The cultural theories of Geert Hofstede, Simon Ulrik Kragh, Alfons Trompenaars, Edward Hall and Elizabeth Plum form the framework for the thesis and they have all been used to gain a deeper understanding of the organizational cultural traits of Brazil and Denmark and which differences are the most significant when the two cultures meet each other in the workplace. The data for analysis was collected through several interviews with Brazilians who came to Denmark because of work, and the interview questions where all created with basis in the different cultural theories.
The results of the interviews confirmed several cultural differences between Denmark and Brazil in organizational culture, management styles, work motivation as well as different time management and communication styles. While many of the cultural work differences were viewed with positive eyes, what the interviewees found to be the cultural differences causing the most frustrations is the Danish communication, which for them is too vague, and that their Danish colleagues tend to be unapproachable and closed which results in a less relaxed work environment. Using Elizabeth Plum’s theory of Cultural Intelligence can help employers as well as employees to prevent frustrations caused by cultural work differences and is a great strategy to get a more successful integration of new employees and to be better prepared for future hires.

EducationsCand.ling.merc Erhvervssprog og International Erhvervskommunikation (Multikulturel Kommunikation i Organisationer), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2020
Number of pages84