Danish Business Structures

Denmark, a small country with a population of just over 5 million inhabitants, has achieved a remarkable degree of economic success over the last 50 years or so.

With a very high GDP per head, the country ranks in the top 10 countries in the world (often ahead of both Japan and Germany) in terms of purchasing power. This remarkable economic success has been achieved by the Danes thanks in no small measure to their pragmatic business style.

The Danish approach has many attributes which could be deemed Scandinavian such as a strong egalitarian streak, the need to seek consensus and the attribution of status according to competence rather than class or education. There are also ties of language and history which bind together the three key Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. (Finland being Nordic but not Scandinavian.)

However, there are certain characteristics and approaches to business which are specifically Danish and these differences could be linked to the country’s much closer geographic ties with continental Europe. (The Swedish expression to go to the continent actually refers to going to Denmark.) This country profile will try to highlight some of the characteristics which mark out Denmark as distinct from the other Scandinavian countries – but remember that these are, on the whole, differences in degree rather than very substantive distinctions.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Denmark

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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This country profile has been produced to give a short overview of some of the key concepts to bear in mind when doing business with contacts in Denmark. It is intended to be an aid to business people who have commercial dealings with counterparties in the country but should not be seen as an exhaustive guide to this topic or as a substitute for more substantial research should there be a need.

With this in mind, we have covered the areas which are key to a better understanding of the cultural mindset underpinning business dealings in Denmark and which are, quite often, extremely different from the approach and thought processes associated with business in other parts of the world.

Therefore this briefing note is broken into short, bite-sized sections on the following topics:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips