Culture, Context and Change
CHAPTER 1 22/11/04 11:12 AM Page 1 1. Making the case This book is a contribution to the expanding field of cross-cultural/ comparative management. It addresses the issue of whether the main Scandinavian countries – Norway, Sweden and Denmark – exhibit such similarities in management style and practice that it is meaningful to speak of a Scandinavian management. This means that on the one hand we explore the homogeneity thesis, and on the other hand, as a consequence, we engage in the cluster theory discussion in the sense of asking if these three Scandinavian states constitute a country cluster. Scandinavia is a fascinating region to study. First, because it is one of the richest and most advanced areas in the world in terms of development and use of technology; second, because these countries have done away with the flagrant inequalities that we find in most other countries around the world; and third, and not least, because these countries have developed a management style which is extraordinarily participative and process oriented without losing the battle for efficiency. A country cluster theory based on attitudinal variables was first formulated in the early days of research on cross cultural management by Haire et al. (1966). Their theory of clusters of similar countries went against the accepted wisdom of the period, which was that of trust in universal management methods and standards. The 1970s saw a number of country cluster studies, but they did not attract much attention at the time. It was only when...
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