Danish Management Style


Business structures tend to be very flat in Denmark, which fits in neatly to the Scandinavian desire for an egalitarian approach and the need to seek consensus. A manager will not really want to be seen as a thrusting individual who has single-handedly taken on a difficult decision and 'gone the difficult mile.' In a society that requires people to follow famous Danish dictums as 'don't think that you are somebody', 'don't think that you are wiser than us' and 'don't think that you are better than us', it is difficult for the manager to play a traditional, paternal role.

Thus a good manager is somebody who encourages and coaches; who delegates to competent colleagues and who communicates clearly and unambiguously. The manager becomes the manager through a meritocratic system of reward for ability in a particular field. It is important therefore to be seen as competent and diligent in order to progress. Personal relations are secondary to technically demonstrable competence.

The obvious corollary of these expectations of management are that anybody who approaches Danish colleagues with an autocratic style is likely to be seen as rude and arrogant and is therefore unlikely to be given the necessary levels of support and local assistance.