In common with the other Scandinavian business cultures, Norway is extremely non-hierarchical in its approach to business structure.

In accordance with Norway’s famous interpersonal code of Jante Law (first put into words by the famous poet Aksel Sandemose), people in Norway are expected to be egalitarian in their approach to all aspects of life – you shall not think you are special is one of the main tenets of Jante Law. This egalitarian approach obviously lends itself to being comfortable in a more matrix-style organisation.

Thus the emphasis in a Norwegian operation is placed not on the hierarchy of people’s relationships but more on pragmatism and the development of efficient systems which allow people to perform their tasks effectively and with as little interference as possible. Hand in hand with this egalitarian approach goes an openness of communication and freedom of information which many more hierarchical societies would find difficult to accept.

When working with Norwegians, it is best to spend your time trying to find the person who is responsible for a specific task rather than working out what the hierarchy is and working from the top down to the fact holder. It might even be viewed negatively if the fact holder is initially ignored and a senior member of the organisation is approached first.

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

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 Norway. 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 Norway 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