Post-colonialism in Latin American management: The genesis and trail of North American reference in Brazilian culture and management, MP Caldas, R Alcadipani

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Content: Post-Colonialism In Latin American Management: The Genesis And Trail Of North American Reference In Brazilian Culture And Management Stream 18: Postcolonial Stream Proposal Miguel P. Caldas Rafael Alcadipani FGV/EAESP, Brazil Av. Nove de Julho, 2029 9 andar 01313-902 Sгo Paulo, SP. Brazil ++ 55 11 32813271 [email protected] [email protected]
INTRODUCTION Until the early decades of the 20th Century, most Latin-American countries still maintained strong cultural reference ties with Europe: be it with Spain and Portugal, the former seats of their crowns, be it with France and England, which had, over time, become the focus of prevalent influence. In less than 60 years, however, these historic ties with Europe were drastically changed and North-American references have conquered the virtual whole of the Latin-American universe of references. In the organizational world, this influence is obvious and uncontested: North American references pervade management theory and practice, acting as model and idealized future . The purpose of this article is to discuss the genesis of North-American reference in Brazil's imaginary and culture, as well as to analyze this influence on local management, from a critical viewpoint. This paper is structured as follows: in the next section, we will very briefly summarize the post-colonialist perspective, which is the epistemological basis of this paper. Then, the literature that has previously addressed the issue of foreign reference and influence in the Brazilian imaginary is reviewed. In the third section, we will summarize the so called "Americanization" doctrine from a post-colonialist perspective, and after we addresses the Americanization of Brazilian Culture, based on recently disclosed material and analyses performed by historians on the American government's efforts and investments around WWII, which were made with a clear neocolonial objective, motivated by the will to resist and avoid the potential Axis influence in that part of the Continent at such dangerous times. In the fourth section, the implications of the Americanization of Brazilian culture on the country's management and organizational practices are discussed. Finally, we will discuss ­ in the light of post-colonialist theory ­ how the exclusion of local references in favor of North-American ones can be overcome, and how the Brazilian theoretical and organizational dialog with the outside world may be de-dichotomized. THE POST-COLONIALIST THEORY Post-colonialism is an approach whose preeminence in social sciences has been increasing since the early 1970s. It is a movement that began in literature and expanded into several other areas of social science. In general terms, postcolonialism studies the interaction ­ and the codependence relationships ­ among European nations and their former colonies in the Modern Age, as well as the U.S. hegemony over the world and the domination of developing countries by expanding capital and globalization. In broad terms, post-colonialism deals with the study of dependence relationships between developed and developing countries, taking a stance in opposition to imperialism and Eurocentrism (Bahri, 1996). The post-colonialist perspective has gained relevance and profile within the postmodern movement, inasmuch as both denounce epistemology and many Western practices as systems for the exclusion of other realities and forms of knowledge (Calбs & Smircich, 1999; Prasad & Prasad, 2001). In this context, post-colonialism has
acquired relevance in the so-called cultural studies, as well as in critical management studies (CMS). There is also a stream of artistic expressions that use it as basic theme, among which we might point out poetry, film-making, drama, and music (Wyrick & Beasley, 1997). A recurring theme is the critique of the notions of "progress" and "modernity" as defined by theoreticians in developed nations. From this perspective, one generally focuses on economic aspects and depicts access to and progress of science and technology as justification for the "development" of certain countries while others remain undeveloped. This development within the parameters of the Western culture or wealthy nations concludes by categorizing people and cultures of "emerging" nations as "undeveloped" or "primitive", which leads to the exclusion of their knowledge, values and cultures. From this perspective, science and technology arise as enablers of new forms of (neo)colonial control (Wyrick & Beasley, 1997). On the other hand, post-colonialism analyzes the new forms of dependence that afflict developing countries. More specifically, post-colonialism relates to the study of how Western academics create analysis categories that hide their own ethnocentrism (Prasad, 1995; Prasad Prasad, 2001). In this manner, the post-colonial perspective also denounces the ethnocentrism of Western thought and practice. There is also clear criticism of how Westerners recount history from the perspective of the victors, branding indigenous peoples and those from developing nations as "primitive", "underdeveloped", or "traditional". There is also criticism of Third World thinkers that use their space to voice the theory they themselves are excluded by. By focusing on the denouncement of post-colonialist strategies, on popular culture, and on social movements, these analysts attempt to voice expressions that have been so far excluded (Calas & Smircich, 1999; Gopal, Willis & Gopal, 1999). The post-colonialist analysis is still restricted in the field of organizational studies (Calбs & Smircich, 1999). However, several authors are beginning to use it in connection with critical organizational studies and to systematize their fundamental elements. Banerjee (1999) analyzes the conflict around the extraction of Uranium from a mine in an Aborigine reservation in Australia. By analyzing the colonial and anti-colonial discourses present in the discussion, the author argues that contemporary post-colonialist theory can be troublesome as regards supporting the conflict between these two discourses. The author also analyzes the power relationships among the involved stakeholders and attempts to complement the postcolonialist theory with a critical theory of stakeholders. Prasad & Prasad (2001) discuss the issue of identity, as well as the differences among globalized organizational forms, pointing to representation and awareness of the other within a post-colonial context. Neu (1999) discussed how accounting techniques enabled ­ and still do ­ the colonization and genocide of the original inhabitants of Canada. Based on literature on governability, colonialism and genocide, the author shows how accounting techniques assisted and still assist in the implementation of neocolonialist policies, leading to reproductive and cultural genocide. Cooke (1999), for example, tried to analyze the relationships between the colonial empire and managerial thinking by exploring what the understanding of slavery and slave-based organizations tell us about management and organizational studies. Analysis of slavebased organizations enabled the author to realize that many of the ideas later associated with Taylorism and the "classical management" school were already to be found in the organization of the slave labor in America. The author shows how slavery contributed to the development of managerial thinking and shows that the roots of
this thinking lie in racism. Fairbrother, Nyland & Small (2001) discuss labor-union support to the so-called "social clause", exerting pressure for its inclusion into all international treaties dealing with labor, and point to the consequent exclusion of several countries from the global arena, should this objective be accomplished. The authors indicate that the social clause cannot become a way to exclude less developed countries. Prasad & Prasad (2002) offer a critical perspective of ethnography in terms of the analysis it makes of the other. Gopal, Willis & Gopal (1999) argue that peripheral countries cannot have autonomous technological dialog. The authors indicate that these nations are completely dependent in terms of information and communication technologies, and that hence they are completely denied of autonomy. In addition, they point to the role played by multinational headquarters in imposing information systems such as ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning Systems) and other interconnected management systems to their subsidiaries, indicating the latter ones' complete dependence on the forme r. The authors also state that the internal management of multinationals is similar to that of colonial systems: the metropolis ­ in this case, the central headquarters ­ provides the general guidance that the subsidiaries are to follow, imposes its management and technology models, and finally removes all profits from them, preventing local investment from taking place. In addition, they point to the role of the English language in imposing this form of domination. In general, for authors using a post-colonialist perspective, the starting points of theory as applied to organizational analysis would be: (a) recognizing that colonialism is one of the most significant influences of the manner of interpreting individuals in terms of different races and ethnicities; and (b) the belief that the colonial past and continued neo-colonialism in our days have important ramifications in terms of gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, and other identities (Prasad & Prasad, 2001). THE CYCLES OF -ISMS IN BRAZIL From a post-colonialist perspective, one of the most important implications of past colonialism is not only the continued neo-colonialism in our days, derived from continued economic or cultural influence, but the tendency for dependence and codependence to become embedded in cross-national relationships overt time (Calas & Smircich, 1999; Gopal, Willis & Gopal, 1999). In other words, post-colonialist theory gives us some explanations as to why some countries that were made dependent in the past by colonial fate and force may culturally continue such dependency to their former crowns as if the Colony still persisted. In this section, we will discuss the different foreign influences and references for Brazil's imaginary and culture and, subsequently, the different foreign references adopted throughout Brazil's history. Alienisms and Brazilian Culture Several analysts on Brazil and its culture have pointed out that the appreciation of other countries' reference and culture instead of their won, the so called `alienism', is one of Brazilians' leading cultural traits (Guerreiro Ramos, 1981, 1983; Caldas, 1997; Barbosa, 1999; Prestes Motta, Alcadipani & Bresler, 2001).
Caldas (1997) categorized Brazil's obsession with the "foreign figure" as "an archetypical construct of the Brazilian imaginary, which, as a byproduct of repetition and of the collective experience of many generations in the development of the Brazilian national character, often seems to cause an instinctive fixation on what comes from the other. From outside." In recent sociological and organization papers, classic scholars and theoreticians of Brazil provide countless subsidies to this perspective that enthrones alienism as a trait in the Brazilian cultural upbringing and as an element in their history. As regards alienism as a cultural trait, authors such as Freyre (1966) and Holanda (1973) point to the taste of the Portuguese ­ Brazil's original colonizers ­ for mixture and their lack of racial pride. For these scholars, these traits ­ whose absence, according to Holanda (1973), is crucial to other cultures' nationalism ­ is central to the development, in Brazilian culture, of permeability and flexibility to the exotic, to what is alien. Prates and Barros (1997), on a different course or argument, suggest that the Brazilian ambivalence between authoritarianism and paternalism has produced a simultaneous taste for protectionism and dependence. This would lead, according to the authors, to a spectator posture, continuously dependent on something or someone to carry and guide them. Guerreiro Ramos (1983), another reference along these lines, on discussing the Brazilian formalist cultural trait ­ that is, the tendency to accept and provoke discrepancy between formal and real, between what is said and what is done ­, suggests that formalistic acceptance and transplantation of foreign models culminates in disfiguring the host culture to such an extent that it loses its sense of uniqueness and identity. In other words, for Guerreiro Ramos, the discrepancy between formal and real in the adoption of foreign references would, at its limit and in the course of time, increasingly blur the boundaries between them. Other authors with a similar viewpoint suggest that the Brazilian fixation on foreign reference is typical of a local inferiority complex, as a nation and as a peripheral culture. From this perspective, Caligaris (1993) starts from the recurring Brazilian notion that "this country is no good!" to develop an acute psychoanalytical investigation of contemporary Brazil and Brazilian culture. For this author, this unbridled need of outside references (or, rather, paternal ones) in Brazilian imaginary indicates that Brazilians need, at the same time, (i) something to indicate them where to go; (ii) something that enables disobedience as regards this indication; and (iii) something that they are able to despise and blame when they require a reason for their failure or lateness. Wood (1997) reinforces this point by stating that "we, Brazilians, seem to feel an ancestral need of someone to guide us, to make decisions for us and take us by the hand." This might explain why the Brazilian fixation on what is "foreign" is expressed as both idolization and repulsion; as both love and subservience; as both anger and disobedience. Matheus (1997) also analyzes this Brazilian inferiority trait from the psychoanalytical viewpoint, coming to similar conclusions. On the other hand, as regards alienism as a factor deriving from Brazilian historic evolution, it has been noted that when the Portuguese first arrived, instead of producing a local culture, they implanted a specific exploitative settling model (Holanda, 1973). No attempt was made to prepare citizens with whom the settlers might have to relativize or politicize. Natives, blacks and mestizos were regarded as nuisances to be eliminated or as raw-materials to be subjugated, used, and exploited. Such a model implies not the negotiation of a society model, but the mere and
truculent transplantation of precepts, models and references brought from Europe by the Portuguese. Several authors (e.g.: Faoro, 1976; Prado Jr., 1948; Holanda, 1973) concur with this notion that the model and apparatus of the Brazilian colonization and settlement preceded population, with the purpose of creating a reality rather than regulating it (Prestes Motta, Alcadipani & Bresler, 2000). The social construction of the Brazilian imaginary takes place within these authoritarian, colonial Portuguese bowels, which press not only for a foreign imaginary, but for an absolute chasm between the dominated world and the conquering, superior world (Freyre, 1966). However, during Brazil's final years as a colony, and certainly thereafter, for a sizable part of the industrialization period, the country ­ or at least landowners and the industrial bourgeois, the heirs of the cultural ethos ­ grew increasingly apart from the references of Lisbon's conqueror culture. These elites, still averse to the popular and to the creation of local references, went in search of other foreign references and subjected themselves ­ and, in their wake, the entire local society ­ to the same type of colonization by other centers of influence, but now self-induced. This seems to be the historic reason why the significant foreigner in Brazil is a mutating figure that has changed nationality and origin over time . In other words, this seams to be the reason why Brazilians have lived, over time, cycles of alienisms, indeed a collection of -isms. Other authors argue that a strong ideological content exists in this Brazilian alienation process. Faoro (1976), for one, argues that Brazilian elites have always appreciated the adoption, by its society, of behaviors typical of the "developed world" in each period, as a mimesis of its idealized destiny. Riggs (1963, 1999, 2002) and Guerreiro Ramos (1984) suggested that such type of mimesis intended to incorporate and to display and "apparent modernity" which, in turn, enabled the articulation of developing countries with developed societies with which the former maintained a relationship of dependence. More recently, Prestes Motta, Alcadepani and Bresler (2000) suggested that Brazil's alienism reflects a process articulated by the elite to generate a dependence that both segregates and favors it Finally, a fundamental geopolitical fact reinforced this Brazilian trend towards searching for foreign references: the realization that Portugal, since the very early colonial days, proved to be a poor significant. Firstly, because of the Portuguese decline in the European scenario as compared to other colonial powers. Secondly, because Portugal was itself ­ at least since the 17th Century ­ an alienated nation, influenced for long periods by richer, more developed colonial powers with greater cultural and artistic tradition: England and, subsequently, France. Thirdly, because it was the result of the settlement model of choice, under which the Capitanias were less subordinated to the central government (and, therefore, to the metropolis) than to local oligarchies: hence, in the course of the colonial period, local aristocracies gradually and increasingly drew apart from Lisbon's references in favor of further developed European powers. AMERICANIZING...
In this section, we will first analyze the concepts of "Americanization" and "Americanism", to subsequently recreate the several moments and stages of the process that diffused U.S. values and references in Latin American countries and in Brazil in particular. Americanization, Americanism, and its Components We should, before all else, define the concepts of "Americanization" and "Americanism" in terms of the post-colonialist theory. In simple terms, one might say that Americanization is the deliberate, conscious, process of disseminating basic U.S. values throughout the countries that lie under its influence as a result of American political, economic and military prevalence (Gerstle, 1989; Tota, 2000, Gramsci, 1976). This prevalence began around the 1920s and remains to this day. It is, therefore, the process by which the Americanist ideology and the North-American model are implanted in "feebler cultures" of the Latin American subcontinent at first and, later, in other regions. Americanism is, in turn, the ideology that sustains the Americanization process, both of new citizens and of countries under North American influence. It comprehends, in other words, the ideas and ideals that are disseminated by means of the Americanization process. According to Tota (2000: 19), Americanism can be understood as a "pragmatic ideology, a powerful intentional weapon, with the clear purpose of overcoming other isms, be they indigenous or not." The Americanist project is not new, although the ideology of Americanism became clearly consolidated only in the early 20th Century. In this sense, "there was, from the beginning, an unconscious desire that was translated into the idea of `manifest wish': The United States were to appropriate the word America to denominate the country [ ... The expression] Other Americas [...] was used in connection with all American countries with the exception of the United States [...] `Other Americas' sounds like a pragmatic truth. There was one Ame rica, that is, the United States, a grand country, with an industrial revolution, tycoons, laborers, Hollywood, skyscrapers, modernity and such, and there were the others, who lacked all of this." (Tota, 2000: 36-37) Americanism was based on the assumption that America was for Americans. NorthAmericans, of course. Beyond the South of the Rio Grande lies the America that needed to be tamed by the North American-developed ideals. The basic elements of Americanism tend to be summarized differently by several authors (Gerstle, 1989; Tota, 2000, Gramsci, 1976). Here, we choose to suggest that Americanism contains five fundamental assumptions: 1. Liberal State. For many analysts, this is the first element, as Gramsci (1976) had already predicted ­ the Liberal State is the required social structure for the Americanization of a nation. 2. Democracy. Representative democracy is another obvious element of the Americanist ideology, as well as one of those upon which the rhetoric of Americanization is more strongly seated. Americanism would, therefore, always
be associated with the "ideas of liberty, individual rights, and independence." (Tota, 2000: 19) 3. Progressivism. For some analysts (see Tota, 2000, for a review), progressivism is the most important component of Americanism and is associated with rationalism, with the idea of a world of plenty, and with North-American ingenuity and creative ability. It is allegedly what caused some words to acquire a mythical meaning in the ideology of Americanism: progress, science, technology, plenty, rationality, efficiency, Scientific Management, and American living standards. 4. Utilitarianism. The foundation of the Americanist spirit is utilitarianism, that is, the notion of utility as parameter for the value of things. In an interesting editorial published recently in a Brazilian newspaper (OESP, 25/06/2000), writer Gilberto Kujawski reminds us that utilitarianism is manifested by two basic Americanism values: pragmatism in dealing with life, and laboriousness (compulsive working in detriment of leisure and idleness) in "making a living". Curiously, utilitarianism is now often taken to be ­ in critical tones ­ the negative essence of Americanism. 5. Market Economy and Mass Society. The corollary of Americanism and the only fertile field of the progressivism it is based upon is, obviously, an economic territory branded by free market rules and whose development logic is mass production and consumption. This is consistent with the beginning of Americanization, the 1920s, a time of major economic expansion. The time of Coolidge, of Taylor and Ford, of intense mechanization and market growth. A market that "mass-produced everything: cars, vacuum-cleaners, radios, refrigerators, and produce." (Tota, 2000: 32) It is the maintenance and dissemination of these elements, as well as the hegemony of the American way of life in the continent and in the world, that make up the Americanist project. Americanizing Latin America and Brazil Authors such as Moura (1990), Accioly (1945) and Ianni (1979) have written much about the extent, form, and evolution of North-American influence in Latin America. For authors of this school, this expansion, which arises from a diplomatic movement to diversify influences (from English hegemony) at the end of the 19th Century, evolves as a political project in the 20th Century, with the Pan-Americanist ideology, and is further cemented with the " Monroe Doctrine", under which the U.S. regard themselves as depositories of international political interest and as representatives of the civilized world. Through justifications of several types (political, religious, cultural, and economic), the expansion was explained by the so-called "democratic and egalitarian" tradition according to which its was Protestant America's moral duty to civilize late-development peoples, releasing them from Catholic barbarism. At present, it is admitted that the articulated political project aiming at an approximation with Latin America began during the Republican Herbert Hoover administration and with the appearance of Pan-Americanism, a movement that, starting from the United States in the 1920s, advocated the continent's economic and
political union with the region's defense and development in mind. After his election in 1928, President Hoover went on a journey across the continent proclaiming a "good-neighbor policy" between the United States and its Latin neighbors. The purpose was to set the stage for a Latin America-oriented foreign policy, as the region was regarded as a major consumer market and had highly relevant strategic characteristics. Notwithstanding, Hoover's administration was unable to attain its objective, which would be later taken up by Roosevelt. For the leading researchers of Americanist expansionism, American influence increased particularly during the period between the end of WWI and until the beginning of WWI, when throughout the world, the United States started being regarded as an emerging power. The infiltration of North-American reference in Brazil in this period was also driven by the clear signs of economic and industrial prosperity that the U.S. displayed during the Coolidge age. Technical and material advances, as well as the dramatic market expansion enabled by the Taylorist and Fordist mechanization in the 1920s, were enough to make the United States one of the preferred models of efficiency and modernization for the incipient Brazilian industrial elite, particularly in Sгo Paulo. The creation of IDORT (a professional training institution aimed at promoting the "rational organization model" among Brazilians) by this group of industrialists, in July of 1931, marks the beginning of a systematic effort to emulate and absorb North-American productive and managerial technology. This management modeling and mimesis movement had deep effects as regards absorbing and incorporating U.S. managerial references in Brazil in the second half of the century and with other similar institutions and efforts. Be it because of the "American progress" dissemination institutions, be it because of other evident signs of progress, such as the many products and technologies that reached Brazilians coming from North America, the fact is that, from the 1920s onwards, the United States ­ as an economic power ­ gradually begin to become an important cultural reference for many Brazilians. In the cultural arena, the 1920s and 30s are also landmarks for the dissemination of other North-American references in Brazil that would later have great influence in the Americanist consolidation: in this period, North American music, literature and, chiefly, North American movies, started to becoming popular in Brazil. One of the clearest icons of this period of increasing North American influence was the worldwide repercussion of the New York World Fair, in 1939. The purpose was to feature different countries and technological novelties, in an attempt to produce a positive image of the future and create new possibilities for material progress. Authors such as Tota (2000) argue that the Fair played an important role in Brazil's Americanization. Brazilian nationals that visited the fair or read stories about it in the newspapers and magazines then available were unable to curb their enthusiasm with the novelties they saw. For these authors, this was a very effective way of marketing the American Way of Life. At the opening of the Brazilian Pavilion, the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Labor spoke live from Rio de Janeiro. During this period, Pan-Americanism slowly developed and disseminated as a political project of reasonable acceptability in North-American foreign policy, until it was finally embraced as a political project by Roosevelt in 1940. While, in the 1930s, NorthAmerican influence in Brazil and the rest of the continent intensifies both diplomatically and economically to prevent an approximation with Germany, it was in the 1940s that this influence displayed massive growth, specially (i) because of the
willful Americanization action orchestrated by the third Roosevelt administration (Tota, 2000); and (ii) because of continued American political and economic support to the continent as a result of this effort, for the purposes of "hemispheric solidarity" (Moura, 1990; Accioly, 1945). We will next focus on this period, the 1940s, when it appears that Brazil and the remainder of Latin America experienced a clear inflection point, after which their axis of influence became clearly favorable to the U.S. We will use the fascinating report Tota (2000) made of the period, particularly regarding the orchestration of the Americanization process by Roosevelt, Rockefeller and the OCIAA. At the next subsection, we will resume the facts and elements that, in subsequent decades, cemented Brazilian dependence on North-American reference. Since the end of WWI, American society rejected involvement with European politics. As a result, in the beginning of WWII, the U.S. wished to remain neutral. However, because of the shape taken by Nazi German action, Americans relations with Europe, particularly Britain, grew steadily closer. In the same period, during the 1940s, Roosevelt made his attempt at a third election, against American political tradition. Latin America played an important role in this process, as the candidate emphasized continental cooperation and defense, which garnered support from many Republicans. This buttressed sectors that advocated an approximation of the U.S. and Latin America (Tota, 2000). The group that most loudly proposed this approximation was led by Republican millionaire and industrialist Nelson Rockefeller, who made large donations to Roosevelt's campaign. With Roosevelt's election, the industrialist played an important role in the creation of a policy for approximation with Latin America. Many of his family's companies were located in the region, which raised his interest in the Latin portion of the continent. In addition, he made several business trips to the area. When Germany invaded Denmark, in 1940, the need to defend the entire American continent became evident to the Unite States. There was a belief that the poverty of Latin America might provoke revolts led by fascists or socialists, movements that jeopardized American interests. The nation's security hinged on good relationships with the remainder of the continent's countries. Therefore, Rockefeller headed a plan that included political and economic steps oriented towards Latin America. Its central goal was to prevent Axis influence in a region that displayed a peculiar sort of antiAmericanism. Roosevelt had decided that armed intervention was to be avoided, as it would go against the good-neighbor policy he advocated and also would alienate a large consumer market. Rockefeller's proposals were supported by his empire's economic prowess and by his independence from State bureaucracy. His proposals were challenging: the elimination of tariffs on products imported from the other Americas, the development of means of transportation to carry Americas' production, incentive to investments, reduction of Latin America foreign debt. To carry out his program ­ and because he believed Americans lacked awareness of reality in Latin America ­ Rockefeller created a commission whose purpose was to ensure the proper implementation of the project (Tota, 2000). This led to the creation of the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (OCIAA), whose coordination was trusted to Rockefeller. Much of the actions, efforts, and investments, coordinated by the OCIAA were unknown until recently, when official U.S. government's documents had to be disclosed by law. Historians as Tota (2000) were then swift to go through such documents and, piece by piece, to start
making sense of this crucial portion of Brazilian recent history. Form this recently disclosed documents, it becomes clear that the department was responsible for coordinating efforts concerning the systematic exportation of U.S. culture and references to Latin American countries. Thanks to the tycoon's presence, the agency had great political influence within the Roosevelt administration. It is worth noting that the main leaders of the agency were businessmen, rather than career politicians. This was fundamental for the Americanization of Latin American management and economy. The strategic purpose of the OCIAA was to implement North-American economic policies in Latin nations, keeping the region politically stable in the defense of Americanist values and retaining the U.S. as benchmark for these countries, as opposed to the Axis. There was also the goal of culturally and economically conquering Latin America, in order to enhance and protect North-Americans investment in the subcontinent. According to Tota (2000:93) "The agency created by Roosevelt and run by Nelson Rockefeller had [...] two important missions: to disseminate among Americans a positive image of Latin-American nations, specially Brazil, and to convince Brazilians that the United States had always been friends to Brazil". In order to accomplish this, the OCIAA employed several strategies to Americanize Latin Americans. Chief among these, the dissemination of information that put the U.S. in a favorable light and that consolidated their positive image through the media. These efforts attempted to spread a positive image of the United States, to counter Axis propaganda, and to disseminate a positive Latin American image in the United States. Rockefeller even convinced major companies, such as GE and Ford, to advertise their products and the American way of life, even if no sales were to be made out of it. They were selling the notion of a modern and happy future. The radio played a crucial role in this process, as it was the leading means of communication at the time, and its political employment was essential to counter the influential Radio Berlin, which featured programs and newscasts in Portuguese, and to Radio Rome , also with Portuguese-language programming. As their signal was stronger than that of North American stations, the Italian and German broadcasts reached Brazil more effectively with ideological messages in favor of the Axis. In 1941, NBC and AT&T produced a newscast meant for Latin America that grew and garnered listeners. In general, this was an engineered, structured effort to disseminate the American Way of Life in Brazil and to stress North American superiority against the Axis, throughout all of the news shows available at the time . Movies also played a fundamental role in this Americanist approach to Brazil during WWII. Encouraged by Rockefeller, the movie industry not only produced commercial films that celebrated the wonders of the American way of life, but also films that depicted an alleged reciprocal friendship between Brazil and the United States ­ Carmen Miranda, Charlie Chan and Bette Davis are some actors that made commercial features that took place in Brazil. The OCIAA was concerned with surveys to assess Latin habits and behaviors, in order to align productions with this reality. For Hollywood, this was an interesting initiative, as, with the closing of the European market for cinema, they were left with Latin America, besides the domestic market. Walt Disney's films sold remarkably well in Brazil and in the rest of the subcontinent. Films made on Latin countries were also produced and featured in the United States, which was an advantage to Yankee producers in terms of market and sales opportunities (Tota, 2000).
Aside from the movies and radio, newspapers, magazines, music and other art forms assisted in the effort to sell America to the Latins and vice versa. The concern with selling the American lifestyle, as well as the U.S.'s progress and inexorable victory, was present in all of these initiatives, through Rockefeller's direct or indirect influence: in the end, the agency run by the tycoon became a veritable ideologies factory. Further than orchestrating the cultural industry in favor of the Americanization of Latin America, the OCIAA stimulated and managed a concentrated effort towards technical and scientific cooperation of the United States on behalf of Latin countries, through several programs, many of which survived the demise of Rockefeller and the OCIAA in subsequent decades. As part of this initiative, Rockefeller idealized: (i) exchange programs involving students and teachers; (ii) incentives to English Language Teaching and the dissemination of North-American culture; (iii) technical qualification and support missions; (iv) technological modernization programs; and (v) economic assistance and financing programs, be it for Latin Countries, with the intent of providing North-American government funds to eliminate poverty, implementation of democratic institutions, trade exchange with the U.S., be it under initiatives for the U.S. to promote direct North American investment in Latin America. It seems obvious that Rockefeller's project not only had short-term political aspirations, connected to protecting the hemisphere from the Axis threat, but also medium- and long-term economic inspirations. Focusing on the first dimension (the geopolitical one), it is evident that Brazil had an important strategic position in the continent, and that Getulio Vargas's (Brazilian President) flirt with Germany made the Americans intervene more directly and effectively in Brazil. Focusing on the second dimension ­ the economic one ­ Brazil was clearly regarded as the largest consumer market in Latin America, and its strategic importance also lied in the fact that the country produced iron and rubber, essential raw materials for the American production process. By the time WWII was ending, Getulio Vargas had based the country's development entirely on dependence of North-American funding. But by 1945 WWII was over, and Roosevelt was dead. After a while, Vargas was deposed. With the end of the War, United States' attention shifted to Europe and Asia. The Cold War turned India, China and Korea into more crucial areas for North-American foreign policy: communism and nationalism in those countries made them more important targets for attention than Latin-American neighbors, because they were more dangerous. In this new context, the OCIAA was no longer of any use and was shut down by Truman in May, 1946. Thus, what recent historical research based on disclosed official North American documents shows is that declining geopolitical interest in Latin America emptied the deliberate effort to "conquer" the continent (Tota, 2000). After the OCIAA was shut down, the U.S. was no longer strongly, articulately, concerned with Latin America and, therefore, it is difficult to identify direct and official attempts to Americanize the continent. But despite the end of marked interest in Brazil and Latin America after WWII, the Americanist effort of previous decades ­ particularly by Roosevelt ­ had set roots. One leading root of continued North-American influence was Brazil's economic dependence on the US or on incentive agencies that were strongly influenced thereby. This dependence, which begins in the Vargas era and becomes increasingly
intense until the end of the military rule, is the foundation for the neo-liberal pressure exerted over Brazil since the 1970s, and which had reflections on the Americanization of management, as we will see ahead. The second root left by the articulate Americanization of the 1940s can be seen in the prolonged North-American influence over Brazilian industrialization. The exchange of know-how and technology that the American government had begun in the 1940s was crucial for the Brazilian industrialization boom that took place in the 1950s and 60s, leaving its mark on the elementary institutions and references of the Brazilian economic, social and cultural fabric. In fact, as an appendage to the Americanist policies of Roosevelt and Rockefeller, as well as to the inertial approximation it gave rise to, the 1950s and 60s witnessed Brazil solidifying its economic ­ and, thus, ideological ­ alliance with the U.S. (Moura, 1990). And it appears that the American assistance and assistentialism of the 1950s and 60s led to the intensive establishment of U.S. technology, capital, and social, esthetic and consumption habits. Supported by a strong institutional system and an efficient cultural mobilization apparatus, the US ­ no longer under an official, articulate governmental program, but as private investment and the articulation of NorthAmerican interests in Brazilian soil ­ was able to enhance and perpetuate this influence in subsequent years, encouraging the consumption, dissemination and social reproduction of Ame rican references (Ianni, 1979). From 1960 until the end of the 20th Century, Brazil underwent periods of greater and lesser attention from the US. During this period, this influence was most important for the duration of the military rule (1964-1986), when the United States were committed to preventing the communist threat ­ believed by the Americans to aim for the continent and threaten their interests ­ from establishing itself in Brazil. After the opening and re-democratization of Latin American countries in the second half of the 1980s, US interests once again turned to the consumer market, which materializes in the insistent talks over the FTAA. In the early 21st Century, after the September 11th attacks and under a new foreign policy inaugurated by President George W. Bush, North-American interest once again deviates from Latin America to concentrate on fighting international terrorism. However, before discussing the Americanization of Brazilian management, it is important to investigate in what the Brazilian Americanization process differed from that occurred in other Latin American nations. As in most of the continent's countries, Americanization in Brazil arose from the so-called good neighbor policy, which was later absorbed by the OCIAA. As exposed before in most of this section, this sought to prevent Axis countries from influencing the region because of its strategic location. In addition, almost all Latin American countries display the effects of common elements: the Monroe doctrine, incentive programs and investments in technology and modernization financed by the United States, the entry of multinationals (particularly after 1950), and the belief that the region might become and excellent market for Yankee products. First off, because of historic and cultural factors: unlike other Latin nations, Brazil was colonized by Portugal and its settlement model was slightly different from that of other Latin America colonies. We saw, for one, how Brazil's historic and cultural formation differs from the rest of Latin America, leading to a low level of nationalism and a constant fascination with significant foreigners. Secondly, unlike most Latin American countries, Brazil was the closest to Germany between 1930 and 1940, which justified doubled American concern. The country was
strategically important both for being the largest in South America and because it was a major producer of iron and rubber. THE AMERICANIZATION OF MANAGEMENT IN BRAZIL It seems obvious, adopting a post-colonialist viewpoint (e.g., Prasad & Prasad, 2001), that the orchestrated re-colonization that we have discussed in the previous section, undergone in the 20th century by North Americans, would imprint severe and lasting implications in Brazilian reality. Moreover, also based on a post-colonialist theoretical foundation, it would seem predictable that a continued neo-colonialism in our days would survive the end of the orchestrated effort and live of the alienist culture which, as we have attempted to demonstrate in the second section, is a strong trait of the Brazilian imaginary. In this section, we will discuss the implications of such re-colonization and its lasting, quasi-voluntary, continuity in the Brazilian managerial and organizational realm. It seems quite clear to any visitor that the Americanization process in Latin America and Brazil caused great impact on Brazilian management. We have discussed that there was strong economic and commercial motivation behind the movement towards Americanization of the subcontinent. In fact, the industrialization process, particularly during the Vargas age and the late 1950s, created consumption patterns and habits based upon those of countries with advanced industrialization, specially the US. During this period, Brazil's social contrasts and differences increased. According to Furtado (1975), the importation of foreign consumption habits in that period favored a small group of foreign companies that aimed at multinationalizing their operations. It was mostly during the 1950s that American multinationals spread over the world and reached Brazil. With multinationals and their executives, were also imported the precepts and references of the American Way of Life, as well as the teachings of North-American management, which needed to be disseminated and implemented in Brazil on behalf of "national development", and the "construction of the democratic institutions". These were the references and teachings that slowly became the efficiency model for Brazilian organizations. In the midst of this process, national development is regarded as the process of modernizing the country (Fischer, 1984). This is precisely where one can find a marked hemispheric economic conditionant after WWII, which encourages the importation of foreign references, particularly North-American ones, into Brazil, as the economic level drives the other social coexistence dimensions. In fact, importation was not limited to social and consumption habits, but included esthetic and artistic standards, technology, and, as a result, management technology. For peripheral nations as Brazil, trying to be modern corresponded to embracing the way of life, the arts, the production and the cultural imaginary imported from the so-called "First World" (Serva, 1990), then represented by the United States. In fact, this process was not exclusive to Brazil, as we pointed out earlier. The Brazilian uniqueness lies in the accommodation and reproduction of these hemispheric standards in an environment that culturally and historically welcomed the influence of foreigners. If Lisbon and the images of the Portuguese or the French were no longer the source of this influence, other foreigner had to take their place. With the deliberate efforts of the Americans, Brazilians bought into their ideals quickly and without question. This is why the industrial boom of the 1950s was marked
by and based on the North-American reference. Besides, one must not forget the investments made by North-Americans in Brazil, that is, the role Yankees played as bosses that imposed their country's management model over any other possibility, including a local one. Education, understood here to range from English as a second Language (idiom education) to higher, technical, and graduate education, was another institutional agent to filter, disseminate and support an American management mindset in Brazil during the late 20th Century. On the one hand, idiom education was characterized by the transfer of references, methods and language from more developed urban centers to every nook and cranny in Brazil. For example, Chauн (1985) points out that the demise of high-school teaching in Brazil took place after an agreement between the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) and USAID, as Brazil was faced with the reality of industrialization, while the workforce turned out by Brazilian secondary schools failed to meet the needs of Fordist production. As a result, the author argues that public schools started to produce a mass of individuals to serve as cheap labor for the country's industries. In this sense, the technical qualification missions that came to Brazil through OCIAA were fundamental for the Americanization of domestic management, particularly as regards the creation of low-qualification labor intended for both multinational organizations whose implementation was underway, and for the recently created or expanded national organizations, providing them with low-cost value-added. In fact, understanding the role played by education in this process can be leveraged by discussing the role of universities in the importation and dissemination of managerial know-how and technology during the past century. In a way, the great diffusion of management institutes and business schools in Brazil that took place since then is evidence of the reproduction of the Americanization of management over time , as well as one of the reasons behind the hegemony of American reference in management teaching and research in Brazil. The creation of business schools played a central role in the institutionalization of the importation of these models and methodologies and in the Americanization of management in Brazil. The establishment of Fundaзгo Getъlio Vargas (FGV), including EBAP (FGV's Public Administration School in Rio de Janeiro), in 1952, and EAESP (FGV's Business Administration School, in Sгo Paulo), in 1954, consolidates the process of importing North American teaching references into Brazilian organizations, through the training of professionals with references ­ and resources ­ imported from the United States. FGV and its schools were conceived based upon the American university model, particularly the University of Michigan, and most of its teachers received training in the United States (Serva, 1990; Fischer, 1984). Subsequently, a network of social actors, such as training and consulting firms, carried on the process, while business schools retained their crucial role in the diffusion of management methodologies and models imported from the US (Serva, 1992). Finally, some professions also played a fundamental role in the institutionalization of the Brazilian importationist character in the past few decades. In the management field, the most common example is consultants (Serva, 1990). One may say that practically all managerial technology in Brazil until the mid-1960s was simply imported from the United States. This managerial technology importation process actually began in the first stages of Brazilian industrialization, in the early 20th Century, but is strongly reinforced by the accelerated industrialization that took place between 1930 and the late 1950s. The initial process was less connected to the rationalization of production than to the "rationalization" of the industrial elite's
ideology. Naturally, the North-American qualification and training missions inaugurated by Rockefeller and expanded after 1950, had a fundamental role to play here. The Brazilian State also had a leading part in the institutionalization of the American management model in Brazil, specially during the Vargas era and onwards. The creation of the Institute for the Rational Organization of Labor (IDORT ­ Instituto de Organizaзгo Racional do Trabalho) in 1931 and the dissemination of its resources were crucial for the importation of managerial technology triggered by the industrialization of the mid-20th Century (Serva, 1990). The IDORT attempted to disseminate the teachings of the American management of the time , mostly those of Taylor. In the governmental sphere, the importation of North-American management technology in this period is tied directly to the creation and action of DASP (Brazilian Government's Public Administration Department), starting in 1938 (see Martins, 1997). Later, the Brazilian government once again plays ­ whether directly or indirectly ­ a leading role in the dissemination of North-American principles and references, by aligning the country's economic policy and development doctrine with the precepts of international and development institutions that it had to resort to in order to finance growth. Fischer (1984) discusses the process by means of which, under several cooperation agreements and transfers of funds from the UN, the United States, and other Western nations, the teaching and production of managerial technology in Brazil were based on the massive importation and dissemination of foreign references, particularly North American ones. Fischer shows how categories, experiences and models were imported as products, which points towards a comprehensive ideological reproduction process. Brazilian management practice is reflected in what Brazilians study and teach about it; and naturally, organizational research and theory can hardly be better than the practice it attempts to represent and influence. Within the field of organizational research, previous studies have already shown, through several indicators, how strongly it is tied to foreign references, particularly North-American ones. Bertero and Keinert (1994), for example, investigated the theoretical perspective used by the authors that published articles in RAE (the leading Brazilian academic management periodical) between 1961 and 1993. They concluded that Brazilian academic output was limited to consuming and repeating ideas produced elsewhere, most often in the United States. A previous in-depth analysis of theoretical and methodological trends of a large sample of published organizational studies came to the same conclusion (Machado-da-Silva et al., 1990). Vergara and Carvalho Jr. (1995) showed, through an analysis of the citations in Brazilian leading scientific periodicals in the management field, that most references for academic management studies are foreign, predominantly North-American, and that references to Brazilian authors were very limited. In a more recent study, Vergara and Pinto (2000) showed that American references stand for 61.05% of all references in Brazilian organization studies. Rodrigues & Carrieri (2000), analyzing management publications of the 1990s, noticed that Brazilian organizational studies were strongly influenced by Anglo-Saxon authors. Often, the production that is imported, whether directly or indirectly, is not only isomorphic, but also published with considerable delay and often selected according to questionable criteria (Bertero, Caldas and Wood, 1999).
The reasons for this are known and predictable: the many forms of disqualification of local production and categories; and the strong foreign influence in the training of the authors themselves. Both feed a vicious cycle that seems endless, reinforcing a post-colonialist theory main concern: the possibility of thinkers from excluded environments to use their space to voice the theory they themselves are excluded by (Calas & Smircich, 1999; Gopal, Willis & Gopal, 1999), as we have mentioned in the second section. From the perspective of education, management and organizational teaching in Brazil reflects, in many ways, this fixation with the North-American reference. Imported management and business teaching models and paradigms ­ such as business schools themselves, MBA programs, the paradigm of big (North American) business and the 500 "largest or best" ­ became hegemonic in the training of professionals and new generations of management researchers and professors. As a consequence, North American references tends to diffuse in these institutions because of the isomorphism that afflicts organizations, materialized in the syllabus, and the origin/training of professors (Caldas, 1997). CONCLUSION From what we have discussed in previous sections, it seems clear that Brazilian management emerged and developed under colonization, even though, from its adolescence onwards, the court shifted to New York. It is also clear that this cycle of dependence remains to this day, in both management practice and management thinking. For the purposes of the discussion we intended to pursue on the Americanization of management in Brazil, the post-colonialist approach seems to be not only fundamentally important, but also a missing link in the theories produced so far in Organization Studies about the expansion of cultural and technological references to developing countries by expanding capital markets and globalization. Firstly, because post-colonialism can be a rich analysis path for one to understand how and why, in organizational studies and from the viewpoint of the supply and dissemination of references and models, "underdeveloped" voices have been practically muted by a single note that, in these days, has a Yankee accent to it. In the case of the Brazilian Americanization, this first vein of analysis can be useful as a counterpoint and complement to typically functional, cultural and generally modernist explanations of the phenomenon of the dissemination of North American references and ideals in the Brazilian environment. The arguments that link this dependence to inborn elements or elements acquired from the national culture, or even to institutional dissemination factors, seem to have contributed to the limit of their possibilities, favoring receptiveness to new and distinct theoretical contributions and constructions . Secondly, the post-colonial approach also appears to be important in organizational analysis because it denounces the binary divisions performed by the colonial discourse that depicts colonists as "developed and enlightened" and the colonized as "ignorant", marginal. As regards the Americanization of management in Brazil, this second investigation dimension may be essential if one is to understand how exclusion of local references in favor of North-American ones can be overcome , and
how the Brazilian theoretical and organizational dialog with the outside world may be de-dichotomized. Thirdly, post-colonialism enables exposing the reasons and mechanisms by means of which, at "underdeveloped" nations, the locals may neglect themselves by perpetuating a praxis under which the theories they produce and discuss are not generated by and for their uniqueness. In the case of the Americanization of management in Brazil, this third perspective can be useful to understand that exclusion of what is local from organization reference may be self-induced and selfsustained, providing important hints as to how to proceed to re-include it as soon and as wisely as possible. Overall, this essay is a sample of how the rise and analysis of new historical facts, such as those unveiled by the recent disclosure of documents on the intentional, orchestrated, re-colonization of Brazil by the U.S. around WWII, and mostly its reading and organization by Brazilian historians (e.g., Tota, 2000), is a rich vein of research for academics focused on thoroughly understanding and improving social relationships that may impair self-development and discovery. By uncovering new facts of the past, one can better understand how the present took form, and one can influence and overcome its limitations toward the future. Nevertheless, no matter how much we learn about the past, the path to the recent Americanization of Brazil which we have attempted to map in this essay reinforces a point that seems particularly important from a post-colonial perspective: the idea that, however much the dependence of underprivileged centers on more "developed" centers may be colonialist in nature and have colonialist ramifications, the fact remains that perpetuation of this dependence can be self-induced. That is, unlike colonial times, there is not, in the case of the continued Brazilian Americanization, an evil genius that manipulates and perpetuates dependence. In other words, instead of an Uncle Sam that imposes, day in and day out, the neo-colonial North American rule, it is the Brazilians, that at their own expense and risk, take up the model and continue to reproduce it across a complex network that includes firms, schools, consultants, the business media, and a complex cultural imaginary in which Americanized referencing has settled and made its home . Brazilians were ultimately the ones who institutionalized this dependence. The post-colonial approach shows how the dependence relationship, once institutionalized, sustains itself and develops even after severing the ties that created it, with influence primarily over the identity of the colonized. Colonist and colonized, even after the end of their rule and dependence relationship, remain victims of the process. Colonists acquire their identity through the worth ascribed to them by the colonized, while the colonized retain their submissive identity, even after the shackles once imposed to them have been removed (Prasad, 2000). In other words, one of the most interesting elements of Brazil's Americanization, and of the consequent Americanization of management that we intended to address in this article, is that this neo-colonization has not taken place by force of bayonet and cannon, as was the case of other Latin American countries under Spain or of Asia under England, nor was it by the imposition of a colonization and settlement model, as in Brazil under Portugal. Americanization of Brazilians was performed through seduction, through the marketing of the image of Americans in Brazil, and of Brazil in
America. The Brazilian cultural trait of foreigner-worship, or of "alienism", as we called it here, was the catalyst for the process and, in the end, "Uncle Sam mixed beebop into our samba", by Brazilians' own, free, spontaneous consent. This is a trait, and a process, that needs to be clear, understood, and overcome. There is hardly a more noble and "critter" chalenge.
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Exhibit 1 ­ Evolution of the Prevalent Foreign Influence in Brazil
Influence of France over Portugal
Influence of the Colonial Crown (Portugal)
Influence of England over Portugal Influence of France over Brazil 1700
United States' Influence
Influence of England over Brazil
-industrial & Multinational
-Good Neighbor Policy
-expansion of the US
Axis Influence over Brazil
-Nazi Propaganda
-Axis's Military Success
Migration Currents
Influence by Original Migration Countries: -Italy ­ Germany -Japan
-Americanist Doctrine
/ OCIAA - Alliance for
Programs (US-
- Multiplication of North-American multinationals in Brazil
1940 1945 1950

MP Caldas, R Alcadipani

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Pages: 22
File size: 0.12 Mb


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