Culture, Context and Change
Chapter 6: Shipbuilding and More Besides
The slightly twee chapter title flags up the fact that we have departed somewhat from the industry chapter formula of comparing companies from the same industry, one from each of the three countries. While everyone connects Scandinavia with the sea and shipping, getting a sample of matched shipbuilders is not so easy. In Norway the shipbuilding industry is represented by Ulstein Verft on the west coast; Denmark has what is probably Europe’s leading commercial shipbuilder, Odense Lindø, part of the A.P. Møller group of companies; and in Sweden Kockums, in the southern town of Malmö, on the coast opposite Copenhagen. But these three are not as nicely comparable as say the three breweries discussed in an earlier chapter, as will be clear by the report findings. In particular Kockums has massively downsized since its heyday, and reduced the scale and range of its output. Also our visit came just after Kockums had been acquired by a German shipbuilder, and we were simply granted an interview with Kockums’ public relations manager. This meeting was exceptionally interesting, as it always is when one comes to a company at a time of critical change, but this experience did not match the raft of interviews we were able to conduct at the other companies in the sample. Also we were told that there was no other substantial shipbuilding company in Sweden which might have been a match for Ulstein and Odense Lindø. So to add to the representation of heavy industry in Sweden...
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