Business Leadership and Culture

Business Leadership and Culture

National Management Styles in the Global Economy

Björn Bjerke

How do business leaders think as a result of their national culture? This book provides a discussion and comparative analysis of five major cultures – American, Arab, Chinese, Japanese and Scandinavian – and how they reveal themselves in business practice.

Chapter 8: Scandinavian Culture

Björn Bjerke

Subjects: business and management, business leadership


Page 197 8—  Scandinavian Culture Introduction The European Nordic countries usually refer to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland. When discussing Scandinavian countries, this usually means only  Denmark, Norway and Sweden even though, from a geographical point of view, Denmark is not situated on the Scandinavian peninsula. When Scandinavian culture is  discussed in this study, this refers, by and large, to Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Some of the viewpoints are also valid for Finland (being so close to the  Scandinavian countries in history and traditions) but true to the thesis (which has been stated previously in this study) that language is a mirror of culture, Finland does  not belong to the Scandinavian culture. The Finnish language is not a member of the Scandinavian language group. However, approximately 7 per cent of Finns have  Swedish as their mother tongue. Even then, the Scandinavians may oppose being lumped together in one culture group. A Swede may say that he or she is different, for instance, from a Dane, but  remember that I, as mentioned earlier, paint with a broad brush and that cultures do not refer to single individuals. Furthermore, a Saudi Arab may even be more  justified in claiming that he or she is different from an Egyptian, or a Hokkien Chinese that he or she is different from a Hakka. In a global perspective, Sweden,  Denmark, Norway and Finland are often combined into one cultural group (Ronen and Shenkar, 1985, p. 449). A widespread belief about business in Scandinavia is...

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