Background to Business in Denmark

The industrial landscape of modern Denmark is made up of a great many small to medium-sized organisations.

There are far fewer very large organisations in Denmark than just about any other major industrial nation in Europe with the possible exception of Spain. Danish companies have tended to specialise and Denmark is famous, not for mass-market products, but for production which stresses creativity in design and excellence in the quality of the finished goods.

In the furniture sector for example, Denmark produces top quality office and conferencing products but eschews lower end mass-market opportunities. Danish companies have tended to concentrate on specialised, high margin production and have maintained their position in certain markets, more through product and design innovation, than through improvements in production technology or price competitiveness.

Outside the metropolitan district of Copenhagen, these medium-sized companies often dominate smaller towns and this situation possibly accounts for the importance placed on community relations by Danish industry as a whole and by many individual Danish business people. One concern that has been expressed by prominent Danish industrialists is the danger of tarnishing company
eputation in the local home region through such anti-social activity as downsizing of the workforce. This is possibly a concern replicated everywhere in the world but in few places is it felt as acutely as in Denmark.

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

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Denmark is often cited as the ‘happiest’ country in the world. Whether or not this is true (Danes are also high consumers of anti-depressants), Denmark certainly seems to have a lot going for it. As a small country with a tiny population, the country has been able to develop an enviable level of affluence and great standard of living for most of its people. Danes enjoy good levels of social security, universal healthcare plan and a very generous universal pension for which the quid pro quo are high taxes. It would appear that, for the time being at least, Danes are very satisfied with this balanced approach.

What fuels this level of affluence and contentment? How can a small country deliver such great economic results? The answer must be something to do with the Danish approach to business. Denmark has managed to carve out very specific niches for itself across a range of different sectors and at the same time develop a reputation for very high levels of quality. Danes strive for excellence in delivery and on many occasions, they are able to achieve it.

If you have a product or service which really does deliver in terms of quality, then you should consider doing business in Denmark. However, as with all countries, Denmark has its own way of doing things and if you are looking at doing business in Denmark you are best advised to develop an understanding of the key drivers that underpin the Danish approach to business. Danes are happy to adapt their approach to new markets so maybe you should consider adapting your approach when you go to Denmark.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Danish business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

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