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Leadership for Sustainable Futures

Achieving Success in a Competitive World

Gayle C. Avery

Many managers in the English-speaking world are seeking an alternative to the prevailing business model which promotes a short-term, shareholder-value approach. In this accessible and highly topical book, Gayle Avery argues that this Anglo/US approach to capitalism and business is seriously flawed and does not bring the quality of life to individuals and societies that many people seek. But what is the alternative and do business leaders have a different choice?
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Chapter 6: Scandinavian, South African and Family Businesses

Gayle C. Avery


The Sustainable Leadership Grid was derived from German and Swiss organizations, where even publicly owned companies display many of its elements. However, Rhineland leadership is also found in other parts of the world. This chapter begins with examples from public corporations in Scandinavia and South Africa. Then the focus shifts to family businesses in different parts of the world. This is because many of the Rhineland organizations described in Part II are fully or partly owned by the founders or their descendants. Could the involvement in corporate decision making of the founding family make a difference to the way an enterprise is led? Evidence presented in the second part of this chapter suggests that it does. The case of SAS, the largest privately held software company in the world, illustrates a close fit with Rhineland leadership principles. SCANDINAVIAN COMPANIES This section describes companies from two Scandinavian countries: Finland and Sweden. To place the discussion in context, Box 6.1 provides some background on these two countries. BOX 6.1 BACKGROUND ON FINLAND AND SWEDEN Together with Denmark, Norway and Iceland, Finland and Sweden are often referred to as the Nordic lands or Scandinavia. All five countries have a largely common history and identity, which includes strong collective and egalitarian values. Nordic countries are said to be struggling to reconcile their national identity, in which they see themselves as being better (and richer) than Europe, with becoming members of the EU.408 Quality of life is higher in Nordic regions than in most other...

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