A recent major survey done on Portuguese management style concluded that the local approach tends towards the paternalistic, as is often found in strongly hierarchical cultures. (This was seen as a strongly negative result by the authors of the survey who were American — highlighting the difficulties of such studies. Hierarchy is, of course, not universally viewed as a negative and a much higher percentage of the world’s business organisations are run along hierarchical lines.)
A good manager in Portugal combines an authoritative approach with a concern for the well-being and dignity of employees. Managers should be authoritative but never authoritarian. As Portugal is a strongly relationship-oriented business culture, it is important to show that, although you are firmly in control, you also have a warm, human touch.
Instructions should be given clearly and precisely and subordinates will be expected to follow those instructions with little or no discussion. Failure to give exact instructions can lead to frustrations when actions remain uncompleted.
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This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in Portugal only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.