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Ecuador Business Etiquette & Culture

 Ecuador culture, etiquette, manners, protocol, gift giving, and more                     Ecuador etiquette, manners, culture

Ecuador Introduction

Ecuador has a population of approximately 11 Million people with an ethnic composition of 65 percent mestizo (mixed European and Indian blood), and 25 percent Amerindian. Along the north coast lives a small black minority. The population is evenly split between urban and rural residents. The Republic of Ecuador is a unitary multiparty republic. It has a single legislative house, the National Congress. The president is both chief of state and head of government and serves a single four-year term.

Spanish is the official language; however, some Indians speak only Quechua. Many business people understand English. The vast majority (95 percent) of Ecuadorians are Roman Catholic. The Ecuador constitution guarantees freedom of religion.

 

Ecuador Fun Fact

Ecuador has the most intensely varied landscape in South America. You get it all here: the colossal Andes, the Amazon, Pacific beaches, and the natural paradise of the Galapagos Islands. Ecuador is South America’s second largest producer of oil. The drop in oil prices since 1982, plus an earthquake in 1987 that crippled the country’s main oil line, forced Ecuador to temporarily suspend interest payments on its foreign debt. Ecuador resigned from OPEC in 1992, stating that the cartel failed to benefit smaller oil producers.

 


 

Geert Hofstede Analysis for Ecuador


The Geert Hofstede analysis for Ecuador is similar to other Latin American countries where there is very large power distance, strong uncertainty avoidance, and low individualism. This is indicative of a society with significant inequalities of power and wealth. There is a high concern for rules, regulations, and controls, is slow to accept change, and is risk adverse. There is a high emphasis placed on close ties with individuals, or relationships, whereby everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group. Ecuador has one of the highest masculinity rankings in Latin America. This indicates that the country experiences a high degree of gender differentiation of roles. The male dominates a significant portion of the society and power structure.

Ecuador is similar to many Latin American countries when analyzing Hofstede's Dimensions.

Ecuador's highest Hofstede Dimension is Power Distance (PDI), with a ranking of 78. The high Power Distance (PDI) is indicative of a high level of inequality of power and wealth within the society. This condition is not necessarily subverted upon the population, but rather accepted by the society as their cultural heritage.

Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) is Ecuador's second highest Dimension ranking at 67, indicating the society’s low level of tolerance for uncertainty. In an effort to minimize or reduce this level of uncertainty, strict rules, laws, policies, and regulations are adopted and implemented. The ultimate goal of this population is to control everything in order to eliminate or avoid the unexpected. As a result of this high Uncertainty Avoidance characteristic, the society does not readily accept change and is very risk adverse.

Ecuador has one of the lower Individualism (IDV) rankings (8), compared to other Latin countries (average 21). The score on this Dimension indicates the society is Collectivist as compared to Individualist. This is manifest in a close long-term commitment to the member 'group', be that a family, extended family, or extended relationships. Loyalty in a collectivist culture is paramount, and over-rides most other societal rules and regulations. The society fosters strong relationships where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group

In many of the Latin American countries, including Ecuador, the population is predominantly Catholic (see Religions Graph below). The combination of Catholicism and the cultural dimensions shown in the Hofstede Graphs above, reinforce a philosophy predicated in the belief that there is an absolute ‘Truth”. As Geert Hofstede explains about peoples with a high Uncertainty Avoidance Index, their attitude is, “There can only be one Truth and we have it.” More Geert Hofstede Details

 

Religion in Ecuador


* WORLD FACTBOOK 2011

In a country that has over 50% of its population practicing the Catholic religion, we found the primary correlating Hofstede Dimension to be Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI). There were only 2 countries out of 23 that did not follow this correlation, they were Ireland and the Philippines. (See accompanying Article)

 

Ecuador Appearance

International Business Dress and Appearance   For dress, formality increases as you move inland. Inland, business dress should be conservative. Men should wear dark suits and women should dress conservatively and modestly -- a suit or dress

International Business Dress and Appearance   Ecuadorians stand closer together when conversing than North Americans

International Business Dress and Appearance   It is considered impolite to yawn or point at others in public

International Business Dress and Appearance   Nervous, repetitive movements (toe tapping, knee jiggling, thumb twiddling, and so forth) should be minimized -- Ecuadorians find them annoying

 

Ecuador Behavior & Manners 

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Make appointments about two weeks in advance

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Have business cards printed in English on one side and the translation in Spanish on the other. Present the card with the Spanish side facing your Ecuadorian colleague

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Lunch is the customary time for the main meal and is the usual business meal. Ecuadorians are used to alcohol with lunch

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Women should note that while it is acceptable to drink wine, Ecuadorians are not accustomed to seeing a woman drink whiskey or other hard liquor

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  If a businesswoman wishes to pay for an Ecuadorian man’s meal, arrangements should be made ahead of time, otherwise the man will refuse to let her pay

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  If you are given a gift, be very effusive in your thanks

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Fine wines and liquors make good gifts. Avoid lilies and marigolds, which are used at funerals

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Let the host make the toast first, then you may wish to make one

wb01542_.gif (729 bytes) More information on International Gift Giving

International business behavior, introductions, gift giving, protocol, culture  Considering sending a gift to someone in Ecuador? See this information

 

Ecuador Communications 

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Handshaking common when arriving and when leaving

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Men friends embrace and women friends kiss

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Titles are important and should be included on business cards. Address a person directly by using his or her title only. A Ph.D or a physician is called Doctor. Teachers prefer the title Profesor, engineers go by Ingeniero, architects are Arquitecto, and lawyers are Abogado. Persons who do not have professional titles should be addressed as Mr., Mrs., or Miss, plus their surnames. In Spanish these are

      • Mr. = Senor
      • Mrs. = Senora
      • Miss = Senorita

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Most Hispanics have two surnames: one from their father, which is listed first, followed by one from their mother. Only the father’s surname is used when addressing someone

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Relations with neighbor Peru have always been strained

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  A famous part of Ecuador are the Galapagos Islands

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Good conversation topics: family, culture, history

International Business Communication, handshaking, introductions  Bad conversation topics: politics, U.S. political influence

 

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