Management in Scandinavia

Management in Scandinavia

Culture, Context and Change

Jette Schramm-Nielsen, Peter Lawrence and Karl Henrik Sivesind

This book contributes to the expanding field of cross-cultural and comparative management, and addresses the issue of whether the main Scandinavian countries – Denmark, Norway and Sweden – exhibit such similarities in management style and practice as to constitute a country cluster.

Chapter 7: Differences and Similarities

Jette Schramm-Nielsen, Peter Lawrence and Karl Henrik Sivesind

Subjects: business and management, international business, organisation studies


In this last but one chapter the purpose is to re-examine the homogeneity thesis, the idea that the three main Scandinavian countries have so much in common that they may be treated as a cluster with regard to management practice and business culture, and to offer some broad conclusions. To put the cluster thesis to a test, we need to see if we can tease out any noteworthy country differences that run across industries. We will approach this task in various dimensions, first by looking at similarities and differences in the national context between the three countries. Next, we will look at similarities and differences in terms of the organizational dimensions we used in the industry chapters: strategy, management esprit de corps, production and organization, company culture and management– workforce relations to which list we also add interpersonal relations. NATIONAL CONTEXT Are there differences in the national context of the Scandinavian countries that would make it reasonable to expect companies in the same industries to have differences in management and organizations? The following is a brief comparison of our three countries in terms of some basic facts in order to see what the differences might be. As will be seen from Table 7.1, the three countries are very different in terms of geography, especially Norway and Denmark, the first one mountainous, the other only lowlands; in area Denmark is ten times smaller than Sweden, whereas it is by far the most densely populated. In natural resources Norway and Sweden share...

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