Successful Entertaining in Norway

A tradition of business dining has slowly developed in Norway over the past ten to fifteen years, although it is nowhere near as central to the whole business relationship process as in many Asian and southern European countries.

The person who invites will usually pay the bill and meals can seem strangely formal affairs in a country which is renowned for an informal and egalitarian approach.

Both knife and fork are used throughout the meal and visitors may be surprised to see that even open sandwiches will be eaten using these utensils.

Toasting is common at dinner events and it is important to reciprocate when any toasts are made. Look the person in the eye, make the toast and drink. Although tipping is not compulsory, it is the usual custom.

Ten percent should be sufficient and the money can either be left on the table or added to a credit card payment.

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