Topic 1 Cultural dimensions of the Portuguese workplace

Cultural dimensions

There are 3 levels of organisational culture:

SME* and informal organisational culture

In a country where more than 90% of the business fabric is composed of small and medium enterprises (SME), personal contacts are still one of the most effective means of communication.

For this reason, most practices from employers, and the cultural dimension of the workplaces are informal.

*Small Medium Enterprises

Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation Title: Portrait of Portugal PORDATA, 2020 Edition 1st Edition: July 2020 / Published data 4 July 2020 PORDATA - Portrait of Portugal
Portrait of Portugal in Europe PORDATA, 2020 Edition 1st Edition: October 2020 / Published data 16 October 2020 – PORDATA - Portrait of Portugal in Europe

Portugal shows lower levels of employers’ qualifications  than  the EU average.

This data also contributes to an informal and non-written notification cultural dimension. In fact, most information is transmitted orally!

Despite the somewhat average extent of informal culture, the way people name each other is according to their qualification. For instance, it is very common to use the expression “Dr. Mário” (doctor – meaning that this person has a degree).

In Portugal, it is common for companies to be family businesses, and it is also common to work with relatives.

  • It is almost impossible to meet all the requirements set out in some job advertisements. Do not be put off by this; if you meet most of them, do not hesitate to apply, as Portuguese employers can be flexible on this matter.
  • Prepare your CV in Portuguese, if possible. It should be clear and short (no more than two pages) and adjusted to each application. Generally, Portuguese CVs present information in reverse chronological order (starting with experience and qualifications more recently acquired). The functional model (for professionals with broad experience) and the infographic model (on one page, particularly for young people with less professional experience) are also highly used.
  • What (type of) questions are out of bounds? Questions about religious affiliation, political preferences and sexual orientation are considered to be strictly private matters. There is, however, a general perception that these are more frequently addressed (though in a subtle way) than in some other European countries.