Background to Business in Norway

Norway is a country with a low population but an very high standard of living – the population of less than 5 million share an average GDP of $79,00 per person – making Norway the third highest in the world (after Luxembourg and Bermuda).

Norway also tops the Economist Human Development Index.

Norway’s prosperity is due, in no small part, to its large oil deposits (discovered in the 1960’s) which have helped the country develop a very large Sovereign Wealth Fund and maintain a high quality social system and infrastructure.

Although traditional industries such as timber and fisheries are still important, Norway has developed thriving industrial and service sectors which are able to draw on the services of a highly educated workforce and now has major companies operating in many niche hi-tech fields.

Staunchly independent, Norway has stayed out of, not only the Euro but also the European Union and there seems little appetite in the country to move towards a greater degree of unity with their European neighbours – they seem to be doing very well on their own.

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

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Overview

Norway (and Norwegians) like to maintain a sense of independence and separateness. The country’s geographical position probably helps foster this feeling of apartness and the country’s abundance of natural resources has enabled Norway to become relatively self-sufficient as a nation. Thus Norway has avoided full membership of the European Union preferring to arrange its own special relationship with the bloc which allows it to benefit from the benefits of quasi-membership without having to surrender its sovereignty.

Rich in North Sea oil and blessed with renewable energy sources Norway boasts an enviably high standard of living which supports a superb national infrastructure, excellent education and a world-class public health service. Norwegians have every right to be proud of what a country with such a small population has been able to achieve.

All of these factors point towards Norway being an attractive place to do business. However, doing business in Norway is not without its challenges. An understanding of Norwegian attitudes and approaches to business can help you to develop key relationships and build a sustainable business model. Interpersonal relationships in Norway tend to be governed by a code of conduct referred to as Jante Law and it is well worth gaining an insight into the key tenets of this law – it will help explain a lot of the issues you encounter in Norway.

Who is the best person to speak to within a Norwegian organisation? Should you go straight to the top or is it better to find the subject matter expert? What form of communication works best in Norway and what sales approach should you take?

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Norwegian 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